This afternoon I had to step in and rescue the unhatched eggs from the broody box. When we checked on mother hen and her eggs the night before last, one of the eggs had either gotten trodden on by mum, or had pipped, I couldn’t be sure, but left that egg in the nest anyway and left her to it until today when we went up to have another check of the eggs which are due to hatch from tomorrow onwards. The one that was broken/pipped the other night was gone, and there was no trace of a chick, or of the egg, apart from some blood on the shells of the other eggs. Another egg appeared to be cracked and was leaking yolk and white all over the nest (and it ponged!) another egg was pipping and chirping! My goodness! I had forgotten that eggs chirp when the chick inside is getting ready to hatch.
I took the decision (on advice from some more experienced friends) to remove the eggs from under my broody hen and bring them inside to continue hatching in our incubator (which arrived in the mail last week, thank heavens!) Since bringing them inside, another egg has pipped and is chirping! I candled the 7 remaining eggs and of the seven, I think definitely three and possibly four will hatch. I am happy with that, although it would have been nice if more of the 12 I initially bought had survived. Sadly, they had a rough ride getting here with two already broken when they arrived, two lost during the incubation to breakage and whatever carnage went on yesterday/last night.
Poor Bertha is now sitting on one fake egg and I am looking at what I will need to do to brood these chicks myself when/if they hatch! Talk about being tossed in at the deep end! I’m not really complaining though. I am excited to see what we get from the eggs and who knows, I might get a surprise and more will hatch than I think!
And on the subject of protecting chicks, here is an interesting video about a dog tending to a little chick!