I heard the peep-peep-peep- and there they were.....a clutch of newborn chicks with their mother hen. My long barn has many nooks and crannies where free ranging hens can hide their eggs from me. It doesn't matter to them what time of year they hatch chicks. Surprisingly, many do survive. I put tubs on top of the rabbit cages and some of them lay eggs on a daily basis, even at the darkest time of the year when a dedicated room full of spoiled rotten chickens with regular meals aren't laying eggs at all. I don't feed the free rangers. They live off all the spilled grains from the rabbits, sheep and pigs. There is always plenty of food around for them. I love these mother hens. If all mothers were as protective and devoted as these little chickens the world would be a better place.