I'm not sure how I get myself into these things, but we allowed a broody hen to settle onto a little clutch of eggs in our coop. We're new to keeping chickens; we just started in June 2008. We have one rooster and a dozen hens in a mostly unheated coop in an unused garage next to the house. It's a bale house, really, inside a concrete structure, so quite protected from wind. To protect our broody hen from her girlfriends (who liked to stack on top of her and lay their own eggs into her nest), we built a horizontal covered platform next to her nest, and provided her with her own food and water - and occasional supervised excursions out with the rest of the flock. Mum-to-be won't let us near her eggs, though I've been able to sneak a few for some rudimentary candling, and at least two of the six have advanced development. We're coming up to 3 weeks now. So what do I do next? I know that if I had hatched them in an incubator, I'd be needing heat lamps and some medicated chick feed. But they're with mum, so what will they need when they're with her? I think we should remove the barley straw from her covered platform, and replace it with pine shavings or something the chicks won't get lost in... is that right? I think our mesh is fine enough that we won't have peeps falling through. This structure is right in the middle of the coop - elevated about 4 feet, projecting out from mum's chosen nesting spot. My 9-year-old daughter is very excited about the prospect of a wee one or two (which is really all we're expecting). But I don't want the little things to freeze. We're in southern Ontario, and expecting at least another month of very cold weather. Any advice on whether they'll need supplemental heating, or what chick feed and water arrangements we should make? We could conceivably move mum and peeps - in their platform arrangement - into the basement, if necessary. Advice most welcome... I found one broken egg - but no peep - today (is that normal?). We're expecting hatching in the next 2 - 3 days, so I'm starting to panic a little.