Chickens are addicting. Once you have them you always want more. That’s why we’ll be incubating eggs this spring!
If we had space for a hundred chickens you can bet we would have a hundred chickens. They’d be gallivanting all around our yard, eating my plants and pooping on everything in sight. Since that would put us in factory farm status here in the city, we’ll stick with our small flock and add a few to it each year.
It all started because Frankie started crowing last week. Those quiet, squeaky kind of crows that are barely discernible from the sounds of the rest of the flock. He sounds like a 13 year old boy going through puberty. Every time he makes his creepy little vocalizations I glare at him, and say, “Yeah, you keep that up, we’ll see what happens Frank.”
Full Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.
It’s sad because I honestly like Frank. Even though he bit me once and I bled everywhere, I still like him. I respect the way he treats his harem. He watches over them, keeps his eye on the sky to watch for hawks. Keeps his eye on the ground to watch for cats. Tells them whenever he finds some good eatin’. He even went running angrily after Nico one time when she happened to bump into one of his favorite ladies while on her way to work on her dirt pit. Even though he’s a good rooster, he still has to go. We’ve kept him for as long as we can but those crows will be out of control soon and the neighbors won’t be too pleased about it.
Once I realized that we wouldn’t have fertilized eggs for too much longer, I started pulling some to incubate. I went out at least three times a day to collect the eggs so they wouldn’t chill. The Dominiques came to greet me with a loud squawk every time I walked into the coop. They would bumble around underfoot and look up at me with their heads tilted. I imagined them to be thinking, ‘why are you stealing those eggs more frequently than you used to?’ They were probably actually thinking, ‘why in the world would you come outside without snacks for us to stuff in our faces?’
We were hoping one of these snack crazed hens would go broody (have the urge to sit on their eggs) and hatch their eggs for us, but no such luck. From what I’ve read they tend to go broody when it warms up, which in Western NY may not but until May.
When hens go broody they sit on their clutch of eggs for almost 24 hours out of the day, only getting up once or twice to eat,drink, and poop. They turn the eggs constantly underneath them and stare into space in a zen-like calm. Broody hens don’t lay any new eggs, they just sit around on their fluffy butts all day. Lazy bums. I can totally see them deciding to go broody a few weeks from now, just barely too late to be of any help.
When it became clear our hens weren’t going to hatch for us, I started searching around for an incubator. There’s no chance I was going to spend a hundred bucks on an incubator, and making one ourselves was a bit too risky. I sent out an inquiry on a local Facebook page asking if anyone had one we could borrow for a month, and someone was nice enough to give hers to us!
I picked up our incubator last weekend and placed our eggs in it a few days ago. Since there’s generally a 75% hatch rate with home incubators I placed fifteen eggs in to hatch. I figure we’ll probably get about ten chicks out of that, considering there will be several that aren’t fertilized and several that won’t hatch. We’ll be giving six of them to a friend of ours and keeping the rest for ourselves.
I can’t wait to have little baby chicks again. They will be half breed mutt chickens and I will love them. I’m telling you, chickens are addicting.