My hens are SO cute. They constantly make me smile and giggle over their adorable antics. I do, however, have one complaint 😦
They don’t seem to want to be mums. Or maybe they don’t really get it. Or maybe I don’t get it, since I am a chicken farmer of less than one month.
See, they have this nice nesting area:
The straw is nice and fresh and there is always food and water in there. I usually get 1-2 eggs per day from that area.
I also have this dirty old birdcage that was in the barn. I actually forgot about it until I found my first 7 eggs in it eight days ago (a chicken-farming milestone!).
As you can see, it is a very popular spot and occasionally arguments break out over it. So the girls get on the nest, lay an egg, and sometimes sit there for an hour or two and squawk or weakly growl at anyone who gets too close. Then they peace and will be off the eggs for hours and at night all of the hens are roosting up high with the roosters.
There are currently 4 eggs in the birdcage, all from today, and no one was sitting on them when I last checked. I often can’t resist going to visit the barn in the middle of the night to check on my chickens, so when I go then and the eggs are cold and alone, I consider them abandoned. All of the reds hang out near the ground at night so there is no excuse for them; the smarter chickens roost up high.
I heard some chickons want to have a decent collection of eggs there before they’ll be arsed enough to try to hatch them. I heard eggs can sit for up to one week before being properly incubated. I also know some chickens are broody and some aren’t; Farmer Chris, the man who sold me the hens, told me that the reds weren’t broody, but that the barred rockers (zebra-chickens) were quite broody and did this chicken wing thing when they were trying to hatch babies. Farmer Chris told me that to warn me as if I maybe didn’t want to have a shitload of chicks running around my property.
I tried to put all of my eggs together, since I’m getting what, 5-7 per day? Snowpea (RIP) and Quackers were only allowed to have six babies at a time when my neighbour was in charge of the chickens. That seemed to work well.
Possibly it’s too cold out; it was only 3 degrees the other night. Possibly the chickens are fully relaxed enough considering my husband read some things that said it can take chickens up to a few months before they lay eggs after being moved.
I have no idea how to make my hens become mums.
So I bought an incubator.
It is 99 degrees Fahrenheit (unlike the above temperature which I referred to in Celsius) with forced air and stays at 50% humidity and I put 15 eggs in there YAY. I’m turning them three times per day. I’m learning a lot as I go so I hope I am doing the right things! I’ve been spending a lot of time Googling things but naturally there is tons of different information on the Internet and I’d rather talk to chicken farmers first hand than trust the silly Internet.
I can’t wait to have chicks! It’s just too bad I can’t bring them to the tattoo shop with me due to health concerns. I feel like if I’m blessed enough to be able to raise a bunch of darling baby chickons, I want to share that experience with other people, but it’s hard in the city, and most country people are accustomed to chickens.
I have 18 more days before my chickies are expected to hatch. My incubator is almost full so maybe by tomorrow I’ll have to figure out a new thing to do with the eggs. At least I can share them with my co-workers, not that that is nearly as exciting as sharing CHICKS, but whatever.
Here’s a random fact: my son absolutely hates eggs and has refused to eat them his entire life. Even if you try to sneak eggs in (e.g. in a lasagna and not tell him), he’ll pick out the pieces and complain about how gross it tastes. I haven’t bothered eating any of my eggs yet because I’m struggling a little bit with the potential chick aspect, plus the fact I feed my chickens shit like mealworms and their own eggs back to them (as well as TONS of healthy stuff for the record; my chickens are spoiled).
So I’m trying to think of things to do with my excess of eggs. Once I’ve filled the incubator, of course, but I’m being a bit more picky now; today I only put in eggs I knew were from my 2 barred rocks and my Colombian rock hen. Sorry, red chickens, with the exception of Snowflake/Stonerflake, you guys aren’t that special. It’s been, what, two weeks and I STILL haven’t named most of them! In fact I named one Starburst but then I realized there were a few that looked like that so now there is only Stonerflake, who not only has lots of white on her but also has half-closed eyes at all times while the rest of her crew look like startled dinosaurs.
OK, it’s coming up to eight at night so it’s time to say goodnight to my beautiful, lovely flock of chickens.
CHICKEN FARMER FOR TWO WEEKS.
16 HENS, 5 COCKS.
Life is good.