I mentioned in my last post that we have a broody hen on our hands.
You can't really tell from this photo, but she is hunkered low in her nesting box protecting all of our (unfertilized) eggs. When we go to collect eggs she puffs up big like a turkey and lets out a low, long cluck. She never pecks, because she is a sweetheart, but we know that she does not approve of us taking her eggs!
We do not have a rooster right now. From our experience, roosters are hard to handle in a backyard flock where you are interacting daily with your chickens. Our last rooster was very protective and continually attacked Buddy, drawing blood at times. He had to go on to that great big pasture in the sky. Because of our rooster-less situation, we have no fertilized eggs on hand for our girl to hatch. We were at the feed store over the weekend and I asked if anyone knew someone local that I could get fertilized eggs from. One of the employees told me that she would be happy to donate a dozen eggs for us to try and hatch. We go after lunch today for pickup- we are very excited!
We spent some time this weekend setting up an area for our broody girl to be safe and alone. We are using our smaller coop (with attached run) for her so she can sit undisturbed. This morning she is practicing on fake eggs getting nice and cozy in her new spot. We will trade out the eggs later today. Once her body heat begins heating the eggs, the embryos will begin to form and grow. It is so fascinating to me how they can be laid on different days, but all hatch at the same time, at the end of a 21 day incubation period.
This is our first go at hatching our own flock. I know that Blackberry up there will be a good mama to her little brood!