So I decided, after reading around here and some books that the only way I was really going to learn was to jump in and get some chicks. I got some from TSC last Friday, I forgot to ask how old they were but from reading threads they're usually 1-2 days old or so from there. Based on that I'm guessing mine are right around 2 weeks old. They seem to be doing really well. Had one with pasty butt the morning after I got them but cleaned it off, mixed some yogurt with the starter for a few days and it seems to be fine (hasn't recurred, no one else has it, etc) They're getting feistier now, which is fun to watch. It seems like they're starting to sort out status in the flock. On to the questions: Almost from the time I got them they FAR preferred to scratch for their food than get things from the feeders (I spilled some, oops). What I've been doing is scattering some feed in the bedding but also filling the feeders. They eat the stuff in the bedding first. Is this an OK practice? They'll be outside much of the time when they grow up, I figured it might be good to encourage that. Right now I'm cleaning the brooder out every other day. I don't have a thermometer for the brooder but I've been basing things on their behavior. While they do have space outside the heat of the lamp, occasionally I'll have one or two that flop down like boneless chickens in the circle of the heat lamp and just lay there breathing heavier than the rest (who are outside the circle). Are those just taking a sauna? I'm hesitant to take the lamp away as most of the birds move in and out of the heat as they wish. I just have a couple of panters and not all the time. Because they're getting feistier and more engaged (but still wary, which is good) is it too early to start giving them something other than starter? If so what would be good things for them? Stuff from the yard (dandelions, living and dead potato bugs, grass, tree branches, earthworms?) I do have grit for them once they start on something else but the grit bits seem HUGE, will they be able to just peck off what they need? Sticking with the feisty, do I (should I) give them some sort of toy or entertainment or something? While they are wary it just seems like they're looking for something to do. What would be good? It's too cold/breezy yet to give them any outside time, unfortunately. I'm assuming once it's warmer and/or less breezy getting them out is fine at this point since, from what I'm reading, the moms take them out well before now. Obviously I'll watch them like, well like a hawk... er perhaps bad analogy. And last one - should I have roosting material in there for them at this point? Oh they're Rhode Island Reds if that makes a difference. Thanks!