Last night I went down to the coop to check on my two setting hens. When I tried to lift the first one up, she fussed at me with a great to-do. During the struggle, two little fluffy peeps popped out from under her wing! When I finally got her to let me lift her a little, I saw there was a third still wet and struggling. Today, the third little one is dry and fluffy. The first two have been moved to the brooder to protect them from the other chickens, but the third is a little wobbly, so we left him with mother hen for a while more. When we have the house finished and time to do something else, we will construct a system that will allow future chicks to remain with the mother hen until they are big.
I put the four 3 week old chicks in a new cage and put them out in the grass for the day. At first they huddled in the middle and seemed afraid, but soon they were acclimated and comfortable. Emma paid them absolutely no attention, maybe because I have been letting her go in the shop with me these last 3 weeks and watch me clean the brooder and handle them. Dorothy was keenly interested, though.. This is the cat that stalks large, full grown chickens (who have put her in her place every time) so I was a bit concerned about these little guys, but after scolding her a few times she left them alone.