Tuesday, June 19, 2012

the hatchery


After a few unsuccessful attempts at hatching eggs from our hens we finally stumbled upon something that works.  Our coop is out back on the hill housing a couple dozen hens.  They seem happy here enjoying an occasional afternoon on the lawn (until an unfortunate incident with a fox taking one lovely girl).  Hadley painted their coop to match the house… she is a nice daughter to do that.


We keep the rooster separate for a whole bunch of reasons but mostly because he’s an arrogant creep.  We created a love nest of sorts in the big barn.


Each day we take the egg from the love nest and write the date on it. Then we bring it up to the hillside coop and place it under a very generous broody hen.  She’s generous in that she gives up her days to lay on someone else's eggs.  She has no interest in laying on her own eggs as we tried that first.  Are you grasping how complicated this was for us?


With two broody hens we can keep a good amount of eggs underneath them.


The other hens sometimes cram themselves in their nesting boxes just to get some credit I suppose.  Even though everyone says chickens aren’t smart, I think they are. I love to sit outside and watch them.  They know what’s going on.

We found it’s best to be patient the 21 days it takes for an egg to hatch.  Let them do their thing, don’t try to move the eggs the last couple days under a heat lamp.  I love opening the nesting box and finding a chick.  After this batch we will pass the rooster on to our neighbor. 


The chicks are so sweet, I’m happy to be their mama.

* Post Script: while writing this post from the kitchen table my 14 year old son has been in and out of the kitchen helping himself to snacks. He’s been growing like crazy almost hitting the 6 ft mark.  I think he thinks I haven’t noticed that he has had all these left overs from the fridge (we had a weekend barbeque):

two chicken drumsticks (ironic on a chicken post)

a hot dog

potato salad

cole slaw

a large piece of watermelon

also two pieces of toast

and he already had dinner! 


Dawn Castor said...

I remember when my brother was about that age, my sister and I were grossed out by the amount he ate (along with everything else he did haha!). Now I think it's humorous and even a bit sad watching boys grow into them selves and being confused with all the extra arm and leg length the suddenly have!

I love the love nest!

Barbara said...

I'm impressed with your chicken prowess. This took some thought! I cannot imagine how excited I would be to find a newly hatched chick.

Prairie Rose said...

I love watching chickens too.
They are such funny characters!
I think most Roosters are arrogant creeps, glad you give the 'girls' a break from him:)

Leila said...

Beautiful pictures! You are hatching chicks! That's amazing. And yes, boys are so funny when they are growing. Eat and sleep...
Big hug to you all!

~Lavender Dreamer~ said...

The baby chicks sure are sweet! It's a lot of work to do something right! I'm glad you are you! Enjoy those sweet kids! Take some pics for us!

Andi said...

I love your chickens! They are so beautiful. I always wonder if city folk can appreciate the beauty of a hen scratching and pecking about the yard...

Little Susie Home Maker said...

What an exciting post! I would like to try this some time. I have had this vary broody Barred Rock lately. She gets a bit upset as I take the eggs out of her nest , but I have never hatched eggs like this? Lot's of questions, about it.
My son is growing like a weed as well! He will be 13 by the end of summer. I noticed he is drinking almost a gallon of milk a day! He has grown several inches in the last couple of months! I keep thinking how am I going to keep up with his groceries as soon as he wants to eat like your son does! LOL! Love it!!

Little Wife on the Prairie said...

I wish we could have a rooster. We are in town so it's not allowed. :( (I don't see how a rooster could be any louder than a barking dog.) Funny that you call your rooster an arrogant creep. They do all seem that way.