I just came in from a tragedy. Let me start from the beginning. I have a broody hen that sat on a wooden egg and two golf balls for three months. She resisted all of my half hearted efforts to discourage her. I felt bad for her. Partly because she started setting just after her best buddy hen had disappeared, probably taken by a preditor. I finally gave in and bought ten pullet chicks at the local feed store. I attempted to put them under her just after dark and she would have nothing to do with them. As soon as the sun came up she left the chicks and moved to another nest with golf balls in it. It was cool so I fired up the brooder and put the chicks in there. The nest boxes are inside the feed room and open to the run. The top of them (inside the feed room) is like a shelf and that is where the brooder sits. The hen moved back to her favorite nest, right below them. A week and a half went by. I looked in on the hen one morning and she casually walked out of the nest, through the run, and into the feed room. She jumped up to the edge of the brooder and looked in. I opened the top to see what she would do and she jumped in and scared the chicks silly. I watched as she settled down on the floor of the brooder and started clucking. She had decided she was their mom even if they didn't feel the same. Meanwhile, I found her buddy. She was sitting on twenty three eggs in an old coop behind our shop. The buddy, a BO named Shoe Inspector, sat faithfully, and last weekend, hatched twenty one of the twenty three eggs (two where not fertile.) I was so happy with the girls, both were being good mom's. My flock had more than doubled! The chicks finished hatching on Sunday night. I took off work today (had work obligations the first of the week) to reconfigure things and move them to the larger, more secure coop where they would be safer and have more room to grow. When DH went out to check on them at dawn, it was bad. Something, probably a coon or opposum, had gotten in and killed Shoe Inspector and all but five of the chicks. I brought them in the house to evaluate. One chick appears to have a broken hip and may have to be culled. Just one more day and it wouldn't have happened. I am so sad now.