One of the young hens has begun to sit on eggs, or get “broody,” as chicken folk say. (Yet another metaphor from the world of chickens.) With a great deal of perseverance (though not much discrimination), she was sitting on one wooden egg in the hen house until I moved her to a separate box and put some real eggs under her. I got the eggs from an accommodating hatchery in Pennsylvania, who shipped them in bubble wrap. For 21 days the hen will barely get up, perhaps rising once a day to eat, drink and eliminate, and then renew her slow vigil on the eggs. Talk about confinement! I’m not going to disturb her by opening the door and taking her picture. She has enough to deal with.
I wasn’t sure my eggs are fertile (the rooster, Lucky, is still pretty young). Then I didn’t want to waste these eggs or the extra eggs from the hatchery, so I rigged up an incubator with a styrofoam cooler, electric blanket and meat thermometer, and put the rest in there. I added a few feathers from an old down pillow to make it cozy and a dish of water to add humidity. So we may have a big hatch, or no hatch at all. If the hatchery eggs hatch I’ll have an interesting new group of breeds, some with topknots and feather feet. That should be fun.