Thursday, June 18, 2015

Broody chicken update

Just a few weeks ago I wrote about one of our chickens going broody.  I got a dozen fertilized eggs from a neighbor and put them under her.  She did her job and dutifully sat on them.

On June 15 my wife went out to peek at her and noticed cracked egg shell.
I went out with her later and picked up the hen (who was not happy about that).  The birds had hatched.
When I checked on them the next morning I found 3 unfertilized eggs and some broken shells in the nesting box
 I guess she pushed them out of the nest.  Instead they were sitting in the corner on the floor.
When I got home from work that night the mother hen and 4 of the chicks were on the ground under the coop.  The rest of the chicks were still in the coop.  I had to reach into the coop and get them out. 
They follow her around everywhere and she's been showing them how to be a chicken.  I've seen them out in the yard, but mostly the stay by the coop.  She gets real defensive and puffs up huge whenever anything approaches. 
I managed to get them into the chicken tractor tonight.  I propped up the front of it and they wondered in there.  Then I pulled out the prop.  I think they'll be better off in there.  Last night they slept under the coop and the night before that I had to help them in.  The chicks aren't big enough to get up the ramp and into the coop on their own. 

One of the chicks didn't make it.  It hatched and it's legs moved a little bit, but it never got up and ran around like the others.  On the second day it was cold and stiff.  As luck would have it...  The neighbor I got the fertilized eggs from had some in an incubator.  Two of them were further along than she thought and they hatched!  So she brought them over and we stuck them under this chicken.  It's hard to count them, but we think there are 11.  That math doesn't work out in my mind (9 hatched, 1 died, 2 from the neighbor should be 10).  I don't know.  Maybe there are 10.  Or maybe I stuck 13 eggs under her and 10 hatched.   Whatever, all I know is that there are a lot of them.  Maybe I'll even have enough that they won't all be eaten by hawks.

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