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
a large piece of watermelon
also two pieces of toast
and he already had dinner!