We've had some trials and tribulations with broody hens. We've had four go broody this spring and only one had a successful hatch, she had 7 eggs and 4 hatched. That's not great odds. One had 8 eggs and none hatched, and one had 4 eggs with 1 hatching but only living for 2 days. The other was too flighty and her's didn't hatch either.
Two of the same hens went broody again (Zorro and Minnie Mouse), so since they were selling chicks at the farm store we decided to try to set some chicks under both of them and see if they would take and the hens end their broodiness.
We got 8 deciding to put 4 under each hen. We got 2 golden lace wyandotte, 2 RIR, 2 speckled sussex, and 2 silver lace wyandotte. We were told they are 5 days old. We picked the smallest ones, thinking from our experience, we would have a better chance of them being female. The guy at the farm store said they were 95% female. We'll see.
So we brought them in the house, gave them water and feed and waited until dark. The Spice Girls, Tilly's Nest (in an email message) and Kathy from the Chicken Chick said to place them after dark. We took them out about 8:30 after everyone settled down. We took the golf balls out from underneath Zorro and started placing the chicks. Doug placed them near her rear and each one scooted right under her for warmth. It was getting a little chilly last night. Since Minne Mouse was doing her flighty thing, we put all 8 under Zorro. Zorro's sounds changed dramatically from "keep away" to more soothing sounds. Once they were all placed, we stood there for about 10 minutes and waited. All was quiet.
We went out there this moring to place feed and water for the chicks and everything was still quiet. We'll get home right after work tonight and check in on them. I'll keep you posted.