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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