This is now the second time we’ve had late chicks hatch, and it’s the second time a hen has managed to hide the eggs completely and hatch them without us knowing. I have a feeling we’re too generous with how comfy their beds and coops are!
Like I say, this is our second go at late chicks. Both times the hens managed to hide a few eggs from us, somehow even when I’ve picked the bird up and searched around in the bedding! Those must be some super strong feathers and stomach muscles to hold up 2+ eggs.
Anyway, we now have a little chick. Mumma hen kicked out the other egg before it hatched, and I’ve found it’s best to leave that up to the hen. She’ll know if the egg is good or not!
One problem with having late chicks is the cold. Also turns out this October has some of the coldest October days for the last 10 years! We’ve taken some precautions like insulating the outside of the coops, re-bedding the coops, and we have a cover over the run.
We don’t want to separate the hen from the rest of the chickens, since the other two chickens in the coop are really good with the chick and mumma hen is very protective anyway. It would also be a job and a half to get them reintroduced with a chick in tow, and I really don’t want chicks in the house all winter (there’s no space in the shed yet!).
So, we have mumma hen and baby chick in with the other two, and it looks like it’s going really well. No one has had any arguments, and the other two – one hen and a cockerel – seem pretty happy to help teach the chick how to chicken. It’s quite sweet actually.
It’s gone a lot better this time than it did last year, and I have to say I think mumma hen is a lot happier being with her friends than being separated and brought inside. Sometimes it’s what’s best, but like I mentioned above we’ve taken extra precautions with them. I won’t have to worry about reintroductions come spring, and they avoid any stress that causes them too. Everyone’s happy!
Let’s just all cross our fingers and hope it’s a girl!