It seems that two and a half hens went "broody". "Half??" You ask ? Yes, Widget, our teeny bantam hen is the 'half'. Going broody is when they think it's time to sit on eggs so they can have a family of chicks to care for and love. Some hens will even sit on their Feet, thinking in 21 days, chicks will appear......hmmmm....
I let two hens set on eggs- hoping they were fertile and actually would become peeps. Many days passed and still these two determined hens sat- only coming off their nests for a good poop, some food , water, and grass/ bugs. I kept count of about when we'd have peeps hatching, but one was early ! The Buff Orpington hen was SO protective of what she thought was HER nest, that she pecked the little peepy and it didn't make it. I took her eggs away from her, and added them to HotWheels' nest which was already pretty full of eggs. HotWheels is a Barred Plymouth Rock hen, and was named by a boarders' little boy. She was not so protective and allowed me to shove yet more eggs under her. Talk about a Mother Superior- that's HotWheels !
One morning when I suspected we'd begin having peeps hatch, I put my hand under HotWheels and lo' and behold, there was a dear small peepy ! Just one, and it is black w/ a cream 'chest'. HotWheels was SO proud of herself- oh you should have heard her clucking at her new baby. She remained setting the other eggs for a few more days. I had hopes that some more would hatch, so she'd have a nice sized little family to love. Finally, when all hope of more hatchings passed, I gathered up the "rotten" eggs and carried them to the barn. I let them slide into the garbage can and when they hit the bottom- omg !!!! Peeping !!!!!! I could hardly believe my ears- one of those eggs had a chick in it and I had almost thrown it away. Whew- talk about dumping guilt on myself... I picked up the peeping egg, which had cracked open, and sure enough- a little round ball of chicken. Very gently I peeled the egg off and put the little one in the still warm incubator. Guess what ? It's alive and healthy as can be, four days later ! It had a weak right leg, but that got stronger and now, it 'runs' all over the floor, pecking at what ever chickens enjoy pecking at. It's eating and drinking fine too.
We have named it Devon- after the Devon Horse Show which is going on this week, and it's the sort of name that can be female or male. ( I can't tell sexes on little babies !)
So, meet Devon at 4 days old:
It should have been named 'Speedy' !