We discovered later in the day last week that our hen had actually hatched all nine of the eggs she was setting on. The rooster must have been serious about his work as well.
Mama hen is a remarkable teacher. She is clucking instructions all the time. And, she’s not afraid to dole out a quick peck to the head when one of her little charges gets out of line.
In a couple weeks we will move the pen, hen and chicks out near the rest of the flock so that they can begin to watch one another and hopefully have an easy introduction back into the flock.
I can’t tell yet how many hens and roosters I have. This will, in part, determine which birds we keep as permanent members of our flock.
Here are a couple more photos:
All nine chicks in evidence
Teacher at work
I selected our laying flock in part to try to have breeds that are stilling willing to get broody. Once the weather was reasonable, we kept a ceramic egg in the nest box at all times to encourage broodiness. One of our Salmon Faverolle hens was the first to become broody. We have an Araucauna rooster and four Araucauna hens, so we selected the green, pink and pale tan eggs for her to set on. We moved her and 9 eggs to a pen of her own so she wouldn’t be harassed by the other hens.
She was extremely diligent and rarely came out of the nest box.
I knew eggs took about 21 days to hatch. I expected the eggs to start hatching on Wednesday, but we got a surprise on Tuesday morning as we enjoyed our breakfast outside on a beautiful morning. At first I thought we were seeing Mama Hen turning her eggs, but then we realized it was a couple little chicks! She had successfully brooded 8 of the 9 eggs in her clutch.
A brand new peeper warm and cozy
If I had nothing else to do, I would sit and watch this little family all the time! They are just that cute. Mama Hen cluck, cluck, clucks at her group of chicks. I think I watched her training them to follow her around.
And she is really hungry. She can finally refuel after her long vigil.
Chicks are popping up everywhere