My Buff Orpington has been broody for a while. I have several local options for day old chicks I can pick up. I can easily sneak a couple of chicks under her early one morning. I can divide off the chicken coop so she can have half of it and provide a way for her to get the litttles up to the coop (the bigs fly up). So tell me about hens raising chicks. How long do they "mother" them? When should I expect hen raised chicks to be able to hold their own with the other birds. I have 3 chickens and 4 ducks. 1 duck bothers/chases/is a PITA to 2 of the chickens, but not the broody one - ever They have a pen, but are only locked up when predators make an appearance, so they free range during the day. We have the back 4 acres fenced. They mostly stay in the close acre to the house and the other 2 chickens visit the unfenced portion of the yard to see the bugs aren't always better before returning back to the safety of the fenced yard. They are locked up in their coop at night (chickens in the upstairs apartment, ducks in the downstairs apartment) and their pen door is locked as well.