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Posts by 1muttsfan

Time will help them remember their friendship without the burden of sorrow.
It could have been about any predator. Sorry you have lost her. Occasionally a hen will go broody and disappear, only to turn up with chicks a few weeks later.
Hens will sometimes step into the Rooster roll if there is no rooster to take it.
That is not possible in an egg collected the same day it was layed. Someone may be collecting your broody's eggs. The eggs you are finding were incubated long enough to allow development.
Australorps are decent layers, but not as prolific as layer hybrids. When they first start laying you may see close to an egg a day, but you might realistically expect more like 3 or 4 a week per bird. Part of how good they lay is related to their genetics, in addition to things like light and nutrition. Google the Henderson Chicken Chart, it shows productivity for different breeds. And is a fun read.
It would probably be best to shut then in at night until they are completely feathered and can tolerate drafts better. I would certainly shut them in at night until you have finished securing your run from predators. If for some reason they got caught out of the coop after dark they would be very susceptable to inclement weather.
Put a couple golf balls or fake eggs under her for a few days to make sure she is really broody. If she sits tight then you could move her. Moving broodies will sometimes break them, so wait until she is settled before giving her eggs to set.
Many of the things you list are related more to individual bird behavior than a particular breed. You might want to see what is available locally, that should narrow your choices down considerably.
If you are concerned about overdosing wait a week or so to start giving them the eggs, the eggs will stay fresh for much longer than that.
Tare
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