We have never gone the route of hatching eggs. My preference is to have our hens do it, but we have a problem or two. Its the dead of an southern Alaskan winter right now ( yes, we do get several hours of daylight per day ) We have already gone through one 30 below spell, and another is on the way this weekend. It tends to stay in the single digits otherwise. We have 19, 1 year old Cochins, a Cochin roo, 14 month old RIR, 1 Australorp, and several 2 year old Maran's. We want to get away from the cochins, just because of the cost involved with them ( not laying till close to 1 year old for one) I have no clue what we would get with a Cochin, RIR cross, let alone any of the other crosses. Our coop is slightly heated, just to keep frostbite at bay. We do not have any other option for a warm area to let any of the cochins brood a set. And no, the house is off limits, unless we have a hospital case. What would you all suggest? Should we order fertile eggs ( looking at switching to Australorps fully at some point), and incubate this spring, for fall eggs? Or, should we just go with whatever mixes we end up with, and make sure no brooding occurs till May? And, how should we incubate? By hen? Or bater? Or both? My other concern about spring/summer chicks, is the fact that as soon as we head into winter, production drops off, due to our extreme weather, even with lighting the coop.