After much struggle, I have succeeded in getting some chicks into my coop. I picked up a box from the hatchery yesterday at the post office and was able to quietly, over the course of a few hours, stick 26 bantam chicks under the hot butts of two broody hens.
While one chick arrived weak and didn’t make it, the rest seem to be doing well. The broody hens are extremely maternal, ready to peck anybody who tries to bother their chicks. My three other adult hens I’ve shut into the coop–I don’t want any babies falling the three feet from the opening to the ground. They seem merely mesmerized by what’s occurring.
I think hens really know their business when it comes to rearing the young.