My MIL died this spring. She raised chickens and in 14 years never taught me a thing about them. My DS inherited her chickens. He's 8 and loves them, so now I'm chicken mama. I've managed to incubate and hatch about a dozen, ordered 25, had 5 from grandma and have a broody hen hatching in the next couple of days. Of course now I'm hooked on these fuzzy butts and need to learn how to care for them all winter. SO, here are my questions: My batch of 25 pullet chicks are a rainbow layer mix. They are about 8 or so weeks old. At what point can I expect them to start laying? Since I live in WI and the nights are getting colder, will they not lay until next spring? I have people waiting anxiously for eggs. Am I supposed to have heat lamps in the coop in the winter? I remember she always had a light going but I'm sure it was just a regular bulb. The coop is a 14x16 new shed, not insulated, about 1 foot off the ground so there is air circulation underneath. For winter I'm thinking we'll probably have 40 chickens in there. There will also be a rabbit in a separate cage in there. Will this be enough to keep them warm or will I have to heat it. The coop is sheltered from winds by a 50x90 shed on one side and a small work shed on the other side, so only 2 sides are directly exposed to the worst of the elements. Just how warm should it be in the coop in the winter. I have heard that combs can get frostbite and I don't want that because DS will be showing some of these chickens at the fair next year. Will chickens lay eggs thru the winter? Can I keep all the roos together in one separate cage in the coop or will they tear each other apart? I only want certain eggs fertilized (brown leghorns, cochins and RIRs) since I want to build up the brown egg layer stock. Thanks for the advice!