Ok. My girl went broody & I got her some shipped Light Sussex eggs from a fellow BYC-er (yay!) which are due to hatch on Memorial Day weekend while I'm in NOLA. Blah! I didn't realize that would be the day till I'd already bid on auction. Psssshhhhht...those first timers!!! LOL. Anyway, I know that mother nature will do her thing without a silly human in the mix, but it's a first time broody mom, & I want to set everything up so it'll go as smooth as possible while I'm gone. Here's my plan so far: ***edited to add due date*** WE LEAVE MORNING OF FRIDAY, MAY 28TH. All animals will be in their places that morning with bountiful food, water, & bedding available.CHICKS ARE DUE NEXT DAY ON SATURDAY 29TH......... WE RETURN NIGHT OF MONDAY,MAY 31ST. Unfortunately, I don't have anyone to check in with them because we are new to the hood & don't really know the neighbors very well, & the few we do, we don't want having access to our house. My family members will be gone out of town too. I usually have someone to come daily, but did have to leave them 2 other times & all went well with plenty of food & water to spare. 1.) Set up huge dog crate inside the bathroom to prevent fire-ant attacks on the hatchlings. 2.) Make sure a/c vent to that room is closed to prevent chills (some fresh air flow will still be available though, as the door has louvers on it @ the bottom.) 3.) Leave a large amount of food in dispenser in the crate for Mom. 4.) Leave 3 large full rabbit water bottles (she already knows how to use) in crate for Mom. 5.) No other pets will have access to the bathroom while we are gone. So, since I have no prior experience to go by, & don't have a local chicken "mentor" LOL, I need the help of the trusty BYC crew of Hatch Experts & Addicts (H.E.A.) to figure out what best to do. Here are some questions I have: 1.) What kind of food to leave for Mom? Just the same old Layer/chops mix as usual, or is there a high-protein recovery mix? 2.) What type of bedding in the crate? I have wheat straw, dry leaves, or possibly some fresh oak wood chips (if tree service finishes by then -- prolly will). Can I line bottom with newspaper to aid in the clean-up later as long as it's covered up with the bedding or will it still potentially cause spraddle leg? 3.) The babies will not need to eat until I get home due to yolk supply, right? They will be less than 2 days old when I return Monday night. I know some will consider these steps extreme to take on behalf of a chicken, but my kids are really excited about it too, so I don't want to leave them outside & open to ant attacks , as I've seen happen to some wild bird nests before. If I was home, I'd just keep a watchful eye out for problems & leave the rest to nature. Any additional tips, suggestions on the subject would be greatly appreciated as well! I hope to get responses soon so that I can get everything squared away. Thanks so much everyone!!!