On Saturday Sonya came over with 12 fertile eggs she had just picked up from Taurimu Poultry in Waipukurau.-Nine Plymouth Barred Rock and three Blue or Black Orpington eggs.
They were safely transported in an egg carton with the abbreviated name of the breed penciled on each egg.
Our Wyandotte X Orpington hen, Flo had been clucky for about a week and as Sonya wanted some chicks we had the ideal situation.
Flo's sister, Speckles, had been most determinedly and persistently clucky about two months ago. She eventually gave up when we took the roof off her nest. I thought this suggested that the sisters would be good broody hens.
I've read conflicting information about introducing eggs to a broody hen. Some say to do it at night when the hen is sleepy and others suggested daytime action. Knowing Flo is very tame and has been sitting on the other hens eggs until we collected them daily, as well a plastic dummy egg, I supposed she would be happy to have some real eggs to keep.
Flo is used to being touched so I put one egg underneath her on the nest. She wasn't bothered at all and stayed settled over it. I left her for about an hour to make sure she remained sitting and then I gave her 2 more eggs. After another hour I put 6 more in the nest and the rest an hour or so after that.
It seemed like a lot of eggs to sit upon but Flo has a big fluffy Orpington bottom and the eggs all tuck under somehow.
(Photo by Clarissa)
After 24 hours she was still happily sitting on her clutch and things were looking good.
We are expecting chickens on September 12, 21 days after the brooding began.
Flo is sitting in the nest box that is part of our hen house.
Before she got her own eggs she was trying to keep the other hens out of the nest so Gary had to make a second nest box for the other hens to use.
Flo seemed to be a bit disturbed by movements near the opening to her nest box so Gary also made a small wooden screen in front of it so that her nest is more private.
The other chooks now have to go through a little tunnel to get up to their roost. A process which is rather entertaining to watch.
Today our developing chicks have reached Day 3. I found a diagram of a 3 day old chick embryo on the internet and am amazed by its complexity.
Here's a link.