I blame you guys! I've been wanting to hatch eggs since I first started this whole chicken thing last spring, even before my girls were anywhere near laying age. I'm thinking I want to go ahead and let one of my girls hatch some eggs this spring and am just wanting to get all the info I need before hand. (Please forgive the length of this post, lol!) I'm wanting to hatch of few of my girls' eggs, but will probably also purchase some eggs (am wanting Araucanas or maybe Polish). The problem is, with my coop right now, I'm not sure I can add more than a couple chicks. I think, anyway. My coop is 8x8 (give or take a few random inches) and I've got 6 chickens at the minute. I think its 10sq.ft/bird, yes? Oh, I don't know - it's been so long since I built the coop and was learning about what they needed lol. Back to my original question, considering problems that can arise in hatching and the possibility of getting many more boys than girls, how many eggs would I want to set? I am not worried about finding homes for those I cannot keep - I've met quite a few 'chicken folk' in my area who would be happy to add to their flock. As for who I let go broody, does pecking order factor into it at all? My little Silkie has tried going broody on me many a time recently so I was thinking of letting her be mom, but she's rather low on the pecking order. Would she be able to keep the other girls away from the chicks? I don't have a separate area built for a broody hen: is it absolutely necessary to keep her away from the others? I could bring her into the garage, but I'm not sure that's an ideal environment. Something could be built or purchased for her, I suppose. Any ideas here would be very welcome. When the chicks hatch, I would love to be able to see them with mom, following her around the yard, peeking out from under her, and just generally being adorable. Yet I've had first hand experience with the difference between chicks that were fawned over and handled to those who weren't. I got my Silkie when she was around 4 weeks old and no matter how hard I've tried, she's still nowhere near as friendly as my others. Should I brood the chicks myself? Or can I work with my hen to get close to them and acclimate them to me? I'm feeling a bit muddled with all of these questions, so I'm sure there's something I've forgotten to ask. Any other information you feel is important would be great. Thanks for taking the time to read this gigantic post. I'm sure I'll be better with the chicks this time around (read: less paranoia), but I've never hatched anything in my life. I think it'll be a very long 21 days!