Success!!!! It worked! I tiptoed into the coop after lunch this afternoon, and was greeted by this:
I could hardly believe it! All the chicks are popping in and out from under Hope – taking little exploratory walks, getting a sip of water or a bite of food, and then looking up at her inquisitively before they dive back under her warmth. She has accepted them as her own and seems to know just what to do. Hopefully all will continue to go well. Many thanks to all the “experts” at backyardchickens.com whose good advice kept us on track!