The last time we went to the feed store, The Littles decided they wanted some baby chicks to add to the flock. “Fine,” I agreed. “But no need to buy them. We have a henhouse full of chickens and a fine, handsome rooster. Let’s just hatch some of our own eggs.”
So last Sunday, when we went down to the henhouse to gather the eggs, we let two nest boxes set. It occurred to me at the time that the gals might not know our plan and that, not knowing, they might continue to lay more eggs in the same boxes. I also wondered how they would know to sit on them. I don’t normally see the gals just casually sitting on their eggs. They seem to get in there, get the job done, and then join the rest of the flock pecking about the coop. Still, I felt confident that nature would take it’s course and the gals’ mothering instincts would kick in, and we’d have a dozen or so new baby chicks peeping away in a few weeks.
The next day, the boxes indeed contained more eggs than the day before. Okay. So, we’ll have a couple of dozen new baby chicks. All the better! But this pattern continued until both nest boxes were full to overflowing. Still I had faith in nature.
My faith began to waiver, however, when I went to the henhouse one cold night after dark. When I flicked on the lights, all the gals were roosting comfortably high above the nest boxes. Now admittedly, I don’t know a lot about chickens, but this did not seem right to me. At a crisp 40 degrees, hadn’t someone ought to be warming those eggs? Yep, things did not look good for the four dozen or so little chicken embryos we were waiting on so patiently.
Finally, it occurred to me. What if Isadore IV (that’s our rooster) is a dud. Call me shallow, but I assumed that such a regal, fine looking rooster, would no doubt be a stud. Could I and all my gals have been taken in by his teal tail feathers and unusually large comb?
So, I watched. Now, generally I like to give Isadore and his lady love of the moment their privacy. It just seems like the right thing to do. But I needed to see for myself if I thought he was getting the job done.
Okay, I know that rooster/chicken romances tend to be somewhat flash-in-the-pan. But it wasn’t so much Isadore’s speed that concerned me, as his approach. Like, the end of the chicken that he seemed to be approaching. Oh, my poor gals.
Perhaps I just witnessed an off moment for Isadore. And maybe the gals had a plan for hatching the eggs that involved some sort of brooding rotation. I guess I’ll never know. We did break open a couple of eggs, and even though it had been several days, we saw no evidence of a forming chick. In any case, we are scrapping the whole effort for now. Clearly I need to do my research.
- How do hens know when to sit on their nests?
- How can you tell if your hens’ eggs are fertile
- How can you tell if your rooster is a stud or a dud?
- What is a good recipe for coq au vin?
Of course The Littles and I are disappointed that we won’t be hatching in baby chicks anytime soon. But that’s how you learn.
This article was linked to The Barn Hop