Luna setting on her batch of 9 eggs
On April 10th one year ago, we started incubating our first eggs. Three weeks later, we hatched 24 chicks, one of whom was a little yellow banty hen with black spots. We later named her Luna, after the Harry Potter character. This winter Luna got very "broody" and insisted on sitting on the golf ball I put in the nest box to encourage the hens to lay. But it was the middle of winter and raising chicks that would be born into a cold and snowy landscape made no sense to me. So, every egg she laid, I pulled out. After awhile, she finally gave up on the idea and did what less looney chickens do - eat, roost, stay close and stay warm.
This spring, she got the idea once again and began setting on the golf ball. This being an exeptionally cold and wet spring, I calculated the end of 21 days of brooding into mid-April, thinking that for sure the warmer weather would return. For over a week Luna sat on the golf ball, until the date arrived that I thought would assure the chicks arrival on a warm spring day. I collected 9 eggs laid by all the hens in the flock on a day and placed them under Luna. For three weeks she diligently sat on the eggs, going out for a quick meal and drink and then heading back for the nest. She was very protective when anyone got near, puffing up to make herself look big and chirruping a warning to stay away.
April 14th was the calculated date of arrival. Sure enough, the first chick hatched close to 10 pm the day before. A few eggs had pips, so I knew that by the due date we would have more arrivals. Little did I know that their arrival would coincide with a layer of snow in the morning! It goes to show that the best "laid" plans do not always pan out! As of noon on the due date (April 14th) we have 5 chicks (4 yellows - one with 4 neat black stripes on its back, and one mostly black with yellow spots). On inspecting their feet, we have one yellow that has the extra toes, so we know that the daddy was a silkie.
More pictures to come later
Follow the antics of the Science room chicks and their offspring as they hang out on Maggie's Farm. During the summer, we grow vegetables and raspberries that are sold to Madison's restaurants.