Is it too late in the year to start a batch of eggs in the incubator? Would any hens that hatch lay before next fall? Which is better - incubator or real mom for the eggs? I know nothing about baby chicks. We always bought adult hens. We had a couple hatch a clutch or two of babies, but there was a high mortality rate with the babies and only a couple lived to adulthood. I think I could cobble together a brooder out of an old play pen (saw one on this website that gave me the idea). I thought I might try raising some babies to increase the flock (I want LOTS of eggs - huge family to feed!), but don't know how cost effective it would be. Any thoughts?