Early to mid-May we should be hearing the sound of new baby chicks.
One of the Buff Orpington hens has decided to go broody. She is set on 10 eggs. The first day she began to set was April 16th, a Monday. I picked her up, and of course she pecked me pretty hard several times, but she has done this before and once her displeasure was made known, she was fine.
I removed the ceramic and goose eggs being used as nest eggs from her nest box, and replaced them with other eggs that were in nearby nest boxes the other hens had laid that same morning. I marked a large X on those eggs with a pencil in several places as I know some of the other hens will push their way into her box and lay their egg with hers. The barred rock hens are particularly pushy in getting their egg in the nest box with a broody hen.
Welsummer eggs are pretty easy to tell apart from the other hens eggs we have, and in particular, we wanted to promote that breed a bit as we have Welsummer roosters. So I added the two Welsummer eggs we had to her box. In all, 9 eggs for her to sit on.
The hen stayed broody all night, so Tuesday afternoon, I again lifted her from her nest, and removed the extra unmarked egg from the nest, and added another Welsummer egg and marked it with an O so I would know it was a day later than the others when hatch time comes.
We expect she will hatch her eggs on May 7th or 8th.
So just to keep things interesting, we ordered some new baby chicks from Hoover Hatchery in Iowa. We have ordered from them before, last November, when we sent some from there to our granddaughter in Mississippi so she could start her flock. She has had great success with all her chicks, many of which have just started laying eggs this past week.
Hoover Hatchery also does not charge shipping, so the total order cost is much more affordable than the order we placed with Cackle Hatchery, where we have ordered most of our chickens. Cackle Hatchery is in Lebanon, Missouri, and is pretty close to us compared to most other hatcheries.
So our order this time is for some White Jersey Giants, unsexed, Americana females, Buff Orpington females, Delaware females, and some Dominique females.
“The Americana breed comes from the Araucana and Ameraucana mix and has different color plumage variations” according to Hoover. We are looking forward to some more layers with some additional egg colors to the wide variations of brown we currently get.
These chicks are due to ship on May 8th, so we expect arrival on the 10th, but won’t know until the post office calls to let us know they are ready for pickup.