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.

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Comment by Hester on August 29, 2010 at 8:56am
Thanks Kali. Yes, I haven;t had a broody hen with a clutch of eggs since i was a child. I am excited. Flo is going really well. We now have her nest closed to the main hen house and opening into her own closed run. Much more secure for her and ready for chicks. One of our cats is a brat . He loves stalking and annoying the hens so we had to make Flo's nest more secure.
Comment by Kali on August 28, 2010 at 11:21pm
HI Hester, I really love waiting for the first peeps and seeing the little balls of fluff when they hatch, is this your first time? the mothers go through such a transformation from being in a trance to being protective mums, I could watch them for hours. we have 6 hatched already this season, a very early bird. Because I have mixed breeds its always exciting to see what colour/sex they will be. it can be a challenge getting them to survive through to maturity though, if they find any gaps in their enclosure they get picked off by wekas cats or stoats, not sure which, and I have learnt through error about them drowning in the water or getting stuck under upturned dishes :( Good luck to Flo

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