Hi, This is my first post and would like to thank everyone here for the knowledge. I just wanted to share my great experience with raising hens and chicks for the first time. I have been on this amazing website for about a year now and have been readin as much as I can. So here's my personal experience. I decided to go with a simple set up and got a premade co-op for a gift that nicely fits 4 grown silkies, 1-2 years old. I bought those from a local breeder for $100. They're all beautiful. One of the silkies (Oprah) became broody for a week and so I decided to call people on Craigslist to see if anyone had eggs in the incubator. I found a person who had some ameraucana and australorp mixes hatching soon. So I waited for his call and two days later picked up 12 little newly, barely dried, chicks. It was getting really cold outside, for Texas. Temp lows 20s with wind chills and highs still freezing in the day. So I decided to help little Oprah out since she really has her wings full with 12 regular sized chicks. She was able to cover all 12 chicks for the first two days, then they started growing quick. I knew this would be a problem since I intended to keep them all outside. So I put a 250w red heat light in the makeshift shelter to warm them up when the chicks got really cold. To my surprise, mother Oprah, first time mother, took to get job from the start. I waited until dark to slip the chicks under. She stayed in the shelter with one open side for two days. Then decided to take the chicks out into the freezing cold to scratch and explore. Since she was so tiny, she wasn't able to warm them all up when they got cold every 10 minutes. She really tried at first. Then she figured it was much easier to call them all back to the light when the chicks got cold. She's been at it for 3 weeks and has been very protective and instinctive every time one of the chicks makes a noise. I feed them mix flock feed and scratch and table scraps from day one. They're all super healthy and lively. The other 3 silkies give Oprah and all her hens plenty of space. Oprah is very protective but was the sweetest of the bunch before thee chicks. Hope it continues to go well as the temperature generally doesn't get lower than this. One day when the wind chills made it feel like 2 degrees , the other 3 silkies allowed the chicks to hide under them temporarily for a day or so. Just an amazing chicken mother experience and a sense of "it takes a village to raise these kiddos" scene that anyone can witness. Silkies are the best from my short experience so far. Again, thank you to all that posted their knowledge in order for me to have these wonderful experiences.