Sometimes, you can have too many "firsts" at once, even if they do take place over the course of a year.
But then in the midst of feeling overwhelmed, you get a first like this:
|One of our Rhode Island Red Hens got broody. So we thought we'd stick a few (three) eggs under her and see what happened.|
Egg #1: I accidentally collected Egg #1 and stuck it in a carton, in the fridge. I'd had a brain fart and thought we had put two eggs under Broody Hen, not three. Thankfully, Byron caught my mistake, and of course he had to go crack it open to see what was inside. Let's just say that's not the only chicken I accidentally killed that week, but more on that later.
Egg #2: This egg hatched today, but the chick was dead.
Egg #3: This egg hatched today, and the chick was alive. Here's Baby Chick with Mama Hen:
|We placed them in the brooder, away from the other hens. Any ideas on how long we should leave them in there? Byron found the chick outside of the nest box initially, so we were a little concerned about leaving them with the other hens.|
Before I sign off, a lot of people have asked me what it means to have a broody hen. Here's what I know about it:
1. Something kicks in (hormones??) to drive a hen to sit on the nest box ALL THE TIME. She'll only get up maybe once a day to eat and drink. This means she's broody. She wants to be a mom.
2. When a hen gets broody, she clucks a lot, especially when she's off the nest. It's like some sort of chicken paranoia.
3. You'll also notice that her feathers get ruffled, literally. She looks like a mom, and moms have no time to groom in the morning. Kind of like this:
|Mama Hen bristles at me and my camera.|
5. Mark the eggs. We made a small "x" with a Sharpie, but it might be better to put the date on the eggs so you can know when to expect your little hatchlings to, well, hatch.
6. From what I've read, the death rate of new chicks hatched this way is pretty high, so don't be disappointed or give up if it doesn't work the first time.
As always, thanks for sticking with me through this rather busy season! I'm linking up with Frugal Days, Sustainable Ways and Rural Thursdays!