On a whim I tried something new—letting our broody hens hatch some chicks!

Inspired by a friend down in California who snuck a few chicks under her broody hens, I came back from vacation and asked around about fertilized eggs. A friend was kind enough to share some from her mom’s farm.

Things I learned:

  • Chickens sit on their eggs for approximately 21 days, however it can take up to 25 days for the eggs to hatch.
  • When the chick pecks it’s first little hole it’s called “pipping” and once pipped, it can still take chicks up to 24 hours to fully emerge.

This was a low-investment, low-expectations project. So I was pleasantly surprised on Sunday when I went to go pull eggs and found two little peepers under our black sexlink hen. All together she has 3 littles peeping around her.

Our buff orpington has one little hatched and a few more eggs she is sitting on.

Were I to do this again, I would probably create a different nesting set up – something a little more spacious. I’ve spent a fair amount of time fretting about how the little chickees will get food and water while kicking it in the nest box.

After work yesterday one chick and the hen were on the ground, out of the nest box. I took that opportunity to take the other two out so the three chicks and hen are now living “on the main floor”. The buff and her one chicklet are still in a nest box, I’ve been dipping his beak in water every so often, just in case.

Fingers-crossed they are all ladies! Otherwise, they’re dinner!

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Hot Buns: An Update

This year we upped our game for the rabbits.

We’ve really enjoyed having the cages just outside the kitchen windows. It’s incredibly helpful to be able to see how they are doing at a glance, and always a great reminder every time we’re at the kitchen sink.

Just before we left on vacation, we built a patio mister and installed it above the hutches. I have it on a garden timer to run once or twice a day for about 90 minutes. Depending on the weather and my agenda, I adjust when it will run, how often or how long. General rule: Over 100 and I’ll run in 2x a day, otherwise 1x.

This weekend we could really see just how hot they were getting, and added a couple of sunshades above the hutches as well. Picked up couple of free tarps from Harbor Freight (the best coupon they offer), installed some hooks above, looped the tarp eyelets on and stapled the other end to the fence.

The difference in the temperature was almost immediate!
Really pleased with such an affordable, easy, available solution.