Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Good Job, Silver!

After a short trip to my parent's house, we were very excited to check on the little broody hen we had in our back yard. You see, we bought 6 fertile eggs from a local farmer we met at the Tractor Supply store here in town. One of our hens, Silver, had been broody for a few days, so we set the eggs under her in the nesting box and waited to see if she would stay. Luckily she stayed put, but the other hens kept laying more eggs which she would promptly shove under her belly too. We decided to set up a separate enclosure for her to 'set' so she would be separated from the other hens in our flock and they wouldn't push her off of the eggs or lay their eggs in with her. One night after all of the 'girls' had gone to bed, we took Silver and her clutch of eggs to the new 'nursery'. She stayed on those eggs faithfully for 21 days! We only saw her out of the nest about once each day. Well, I never saw her out, but Taylor Anne said she did. Mike and I candled the eggs at seven and 14 days, but we really couldn't see a whole lot, because the shells were so darn thick! We did see some veining on day seven, so we knew they were at least doing SOMETHING.

Well... when we got home this morning, Taylor Anne ran straight to the little nursery pen we had set up, and started screaming "They hatched!!!!!!! They're already hatched!!!"

It was SO exciting! Although we have ordered and picked up chicks in the mail, and we have hatched our own using an incubator before, this was so neat to see! The mama, Silver, was sitting in the nest, and a couple of fuzzy little chick heads popped up through her wings to peek at us!

They are all different colors. We have one black, one tiny light yellow (bantam sized), one almost orange, another reddish one and two that have chipmunk coloring with brown and tan stripes and spots.
They'll live in the nursery pen until they're old enough to go in with other chickens, or we decide to sell them. Since it is unknown whether these six are girls or boys, we'll have to just 'wait and see'. We're so excited about our newest additions!