We have been fiddle-faddling around trying to make an outside brooder box for chicks today. They need some kind of heat until they are about six weeks old and it's also good for them to be able to run outside on grass rather than be shut in all the time.
In the absence of a broody to foster them, I have found some plans for a wartime brooder that is basically an insulated box with a hot water bottle on the top, that you change twice a day. The chicks cuddle under when they are cold and then pop out again when they've warmed up. I think it will be a) healthier for them and b) cheaper to run than a 250 watt bulb on for six weeks - which works out at about thirty pounds.
My plan is to keep them inside until they are partially feathered - at two or three weeks - and then transfer them outside.
I have various orders for pullets and growing cockerels from people; so some planning at this stage will save us stress later on. Forty eight week old chickens take up soooooo much more space than forty day olds :).
Leo has been helping. It slowed us down considerably.