I hope you all will bear with more newbie questions! I did look through the forum and grabbed some pieces of information but wanted to get some confirmation from some of you more experienced folks that you think my plan is a good one! We have 29 hens sharing 6 nest boxes. The "boxes" are 5-8 gallon barrels (like from Home Depot) hanging from the roof of the coop, so they're about 5 feet off the ground. One of our Barred Rocks started brooding about 2 weeks ago. Others are still using her box, though, because I'm getting 5-7 eggs a day from that box, clearly from different hens (color, shape, etc.). Yesterday, I marked 6 and left them with her -- we want to see if she will hatch them and raise them. So here are my questions: 1. Does it matter that some won't be her same breed? Should I separate her out before letting her keep eggs so I know they're hers? 2. Given the location of the boxes so high up, as well as the number of hens in the coop (plus 2 roosters), I'm thinking I'll go ahead and try to separate her out now; I don't see how she could get baby chicks out of that nest way up in the air once they're ready! I think it will be easier to move the entire nest box rather than move just her, but she'd have to be in it. Any thoughts, anticipated problems? 3. We let our chicks out to range during the day. Clearly, she's on the nest most of the time, but once we separate her out to her own digs, should I open her door to let her out if she wants? I don't guess it would matter if another hen lays in her box since I have her eggs marked. 4. Once the chicks hatch, do I keep her closed off for a couple of days to keep other hens from attacking the chicks, or do I keep her door open so she can lead her chicks out whenever she's ready? Thank you SO MUCH for your thoughts and advice!!! this is an invaluable group!