I have recently aquired eight brown buff orpington chickens, two of which are roosters (we are going to eat one of them) and the remaining six are hens, so we think. I say this because the young chickens are only two to three months old. They are not laying yet and have not begun to lay but since this is my first time raising chickens, I have some questions about broodiness and egg raising. I have read that buffs are excessively broody. I have heard that they will become broody for no reason, will be broody on no eggs at all, will be broody on non-fertile eggs, and will brood on fertile eggs. Is this true? I want my chickens to mate and I want my hens to lay fertile eggs so that the mother hens can hatch them. However, I have also heard that this can take up to twenty-one days: I don't want to assume that an egg is fertile and then waste all that time (during which the hen is not laying) only to discover that the egg was not fertile. So....... Can I tell which eggs are fertile without cracking them? If not, is there a way to predict that the egg being brooded upon is fertile? Also, how will I be able to trust a hen to succsefully hatch an egg? Remember, I still have a couple of months left until the chickens start laying. I just want to be prepared for what is yet to come in my chicken raising career. Thanks So Much!