When our hen got broody we took her and her nest out of the nest box in the chicken house and brought her to our car port and made a small brooding pen. We took the nests and additional hens when they got broody out at 10:30pm at night and put the entire nest in the brood area which consists of a top part of a large dog crate which fits over the box lid with the nest in it. The hens seem to like their maturnity ward. We have five hens there now. Each hen has her own pen for now. The floor is medium sized rock gravel. The entire car port is enclosed by chicken wire due to the fact our cats loved to lie on the car. (The car has been moved out.) Our 1st hen had 3 baby chicks yesterday. We have a number of questions. When should the hen be allowed out of her ward with her chicks to sctrach around the yard? She seems very protectivie with the chicks. They would be supervised so that no cats or hawks can get the chicks. Also, the rest of the flock is enclosed by chicken fence for now so they won't bother her. Can she keep them warm if she is walking about? Will she be too nervous? When we first raised our initial brood of 1 day old chicks, we did not let the chicks out until they had their feathers and were older. We also had an enclosed pen to keep them safe. There are opposing opinions in the household on when they should have their first outing. So we could use your help. The hen seems fine in her pen with her chicks. Next question, when do you re-introduce the hen and chicks back to the flock? How long does the hen need to stay with the chicks? Do we keep the chicks separate so they can eat their chick crumbles without competition and wait till they are older? Any advice would sure help. Thank you.