There is an old trick of giving a broody hen eggs and hatchlings that are not her own. One morning she wakes up and has 18 chicks when the day before she had 7 eggs. Chicks raised by a good hen have a much better quality of life than chicks with no parent. Because the chicks follow the hen and she scratches up bugs for them. The young ones learn how to forage while their little brains are developing. I'm thinking of trying this with mail order chicks. I don't know if it will work and it might be a waste of time. But any opinions and advice would be welcome at this time. I've got 100 day old chicks arriving in March. I might be able to find some broody hens from craigslist or the neighbors. I'm not sure, what number of hens I need. Or how many chicks for each hen? Plan A: 1. Get some broody hens and eggs. 2. Build a brooder out of straw bales, roof, electric heat, small feeders and waterers. 3. Isolate each hen in cell of the brooder with eggs (a cell is a doughnut hole about the size of 2 straw bales). This way the hens will hear and smell other hens but not see or interact with them. Isolate them at least 5-8 days before the chicks arrive. 4. When the chicks arrive, keep them in the shipping box until after dark. Late at night take all the chicks to the brooder. Take out all eggs and give 15-25 chicks to each hen. Also keep the heat up around 90 F in case they can't all nuzzle. 5. Expand the brooder by shifting straw bales. Create a special yard around the brooder with more straw bales. At first only let one hen and her brood at a time access the special yard. When all the chicks demonstrate following their mother, and the hens seem happy about it, then introduce the whole flock. Feedback?