QUESTIONS ABOUT CHICKENS & COOPS (hopefully the next post will be answers)

I buy farm fresh eggs laid by free ranging chickens from my egg guy several times per month.  I always look forward to our meetings to get a new supply of multicolored and speckled eggs.  I guess you could say TY is my dealer.  Before heading to town, he asks how many I want, and he and I meet in the same place for almost every trade, unless he drops them to my home, which is extra sweet. It has definitely been a fun trip down chicken lane with him this past year as I have learned what eggs come from which chicken, and which egg is better for a cake and which is better for breakfast.  I have learned so much, in fact, I am now ready for my own backyard chickens.  Yay oh yay!  My egg guy tells me we will love it and the girls will love us just as much in return.  This all sounds precious, and I am very excited that hubs has the coop almost complete.  But now that the coop is almost ready and our softly peeping little chicks will be arriving in January, I am getting a little nervous.  I mean, what if I really am not ready for chickens.  What if, after all that hard work the hubs put into building the coop I end up disgusted by chickens? 

Ok, all my new chicken friends that I have made while drooling over your instagram henny pics, and anyone else that knows what I need to expect from my tiny fury flock, I need your help! Please don't ignore my post.  What in the world have I gotten myself into? I thought I was ready.  I even read the extremely informative and gorgeous Fresh Eggs Daily book by Lisa Steele.  After reading Lisa's chicken book, I was totally excited and thought I was all in the know until folks started asking me tough questions. "How are you going to keep those tiny chicks alive through the winter?"  "Won't the neighborhood cats sneak in and eat them?" And the one that really burnt my toast... "You do know all chickens have parasites on them, right? You are going to squeel when you see their feet covered in mites, there's nothing you can do about it, it's just  a chicken -for Pete's sakes!"  Ugh... enter the dreaded jitters.  I was over the top excited about my baby girls coming, although I am not even sure which breeds I will be getting, and now after all these innocent comments by bystanders I am just plain ole skeer'd! 

Please chicken people! Help me to overcome the chicken jitters!  I want to love my baby peeps and I need them to be happy and healthy.  And, oh please let them be free of mites! 

This is a broad topic spectrum, but anything at all you can offer up to a jittery chick mom to be that could curb my baby chicken blues, PLEASE, DO TELL! 
  • What age do I put my babies in the coop overnight?
  • Does my coop need a window in it? It doesn't have one for now but Hubs says we can put one in if we need to. 
  • How do I keep mites off my chicks?
  • Is it okay if the neighborhood kiddos hold the babies, or do we need to wait until they are older?
  • Do you clip your chicken's wings? I think I may need to, but this makes me double jitter. I don't want to hurt them.
  • I've heard mixed reviews on nesting boxes.  I will have up to 6 chickens.  Is just two nesting boxes enough.  
  • If I can't get to them in the morning to open the coop door will they go crazy in there, or are they pretty patient?
  • I've been told chickens will eat anything. Is it okay for them to really eat "anything"? This sounds like it could get narly.
  • Until they are ready to go into the coop I plan to keep them in my office, hopefully in a kiddie pool of some sort. Good idea or stupid?
  • My neighbor said I can let them roam the yard and they won't leave because they will come back to roost in their coop. True, or too dangerous? I'm thinking dangerous. 
These bullet point questions above are just off the top of my head.  I am sure there are a lot more so if you have a useful tidbit or tip for successful and happy chicken raising, please let me know.  I am hoping it will also help others who may have decided to not get chickens because there are too many unanswered questions.  OH! And thank you very much for helping a girl out with your advice and answers .  Hopefully, the jitters will be gone by the time I meet my dealer, I mean my egg guy for the hand off of six little girlie peeps! YAY! (I think.) 

And to think... I thought I was ready. HEEEEELP! 
~Cheers and Happy Chickens!,

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