Thursday, October 20, 2011

Egg Sitting

The great thing about chickens is that they don't care one little bit of the chicks they hatch are their "own" eggs. They are completely blind to size & colour, in fact if you look carefully she's sitting on one green egg, one brown egg & one wooden egg.

The wooden eggs go in the nest boxes to "teach" the young hens where to lay their eggs. I was also hoping it would make it a little uncomfortable for the cockerels to sleep in there with the eggs, but so far that hasn't worked. 

So our little EE here has decided she'd like to raise up a few chicks. Right now she's got one from the other EE, one from the BPR and one from the buff (I think); hoping my Marran girls are going to give me a few to add today.

Not really sure this is the best time of year for chicks, it is getting cold; but momma hens are well equipped to keep their broods nice and warm. Plus we're getting a ton of eggs, but I don't want to start selling until next spring when we've got everything sorted out. By then we'll want to start adding some more chickens & expanding our laying crew, so if we get some babies in now they'll be old enough come spring to start laying.

You've got  to be a little careful of a momma chicken on her nest, she gets very protective and she'll nip you! Chickens really don't bite very hard at all, so far I've only had one give me a really good bite, and it didn't even break the skin, just a pinch and the mark was gone in 20 minutes.

Chicken eggs can remain in their nest until mom is ready to sit them. Actually momma is hoping on & off right now, sitting for an hour or two then going outside to eat, then coming back in. The eggs should be fine like that until incubation starts. If she abandons them after that, the eggs will die. You start the hatch count-down from the time she starts sitting the eggs, not the time the first ones are layed.

She's starting sitting in earnest from last night, although the other EE has stolen her nest a few times, and last night I found her in there with the eggs & the two little cockerel chicks! Hopefully we'll have some new little fuzzy bums in about 21 days!


  1. This post reminded me of a video we were shown in Animal Behaviour class in university. A duck is nesting, and to show how they're essentially blind to size and colour, they put a pool ball and a wooden block next to the nest. The duck proceeds to nudge the pool ball "back" into the next, while ignoring the wooden block. I can't for the life of me find it on YouTube!

  2. I love giving her new eggs, just because it's so cute to see how excited she gets! Nuzzling the little prize under her belly. She's got 5 now (1 EE 2 Buff? 1 BPR 1 Cochin) and I think she's maxed out, if we get a Maran today (fingers crossed!) I'll give her one more and that'll be it (she is a bantam).

    I know on the BBC doc "The Private Life of Chickens" they had students "teach" the chickens to pick out certain shapes (i.e. star or square) to get a treat, so they can definitely tell the difference.

    I just find it amazing that when you compare chickens and ducks to a bird like the warbler, who probably because of pressure from nest parasitism by the cuckoo, has evolved to kick any eggs that is slightly off in colour or shape out of their nests. Versus the domestic birds where you can have a tiny little silky hatch out ducks eggs and raise them!