She’s still in the nest this morning. Chel told me that the eggs, even if they are a few days old, won’t start to develop until they have a hen sitting on them. This is good because we are going on a little trip and don’t want to miss the big day!
I heard quite a bit of clucking this morning and opened the window to see all my girls waiting for the buff to get out so they could lay their eggs. Last night I put a few of their own eggs into the top nest and the new nest to encourage them to lay elsewhere, but it looks, and sounds like they aren’t interested.
I guess the girls gave up waiting for her. I’m pretty sure they all laid in the “new” nest. I wish I could swap the buff into the “new” box to let the other girls use the “main box” since it is much easier for me to retrieve the eggs.
In the middle of the day I saw the buff out and about getting some food and water and doing a bit of stretching and foraging. I’m so nervous that she’s going to abandon the eggs, but fortunately she was back on the nest after being off for only about 30 mins. 🙂
NOTE: One thing I noticed is that I didn’t have a “lip” on the front of the new nest box so the eggs had a tendency to be pushed out when the chickens went in and out and sat down. I wonder if this is why my buff didn’t want to stay in there with the eggs? I’ve added a board to the front to prevent rolling and I’m wondering if I should try to move the buff and eggs again.
Today my little hen got off the nest for about an hour at 3:00 pm. I took the opportunity to see what was going on. First I noticed that there were 4 brown eggs alongside the white fertilized ones. I guess this means the other girls aren’t interested in laying in the other nest. I took two of the eggs inside to “candle” them. Click here my first candling egg experience and egg candling log / pictures.
Good news, all the other girls have been using the “new” box I made and are leaving my buff hen alone. I leave a golf ball and a single egg in there to encourage them to keep laying in that box. I also added a video of a candled egg today, see here:
I realized I’ve got two issues:
1) My nest box is about 4 feet off the ground and I’m concerned that the chicks may venture out early on and fall off of the ramp that goes from the coop to the run.
2) I completely forgot that my buddy lost a few of his chicks to some mysterious animals. Probably owls and/or hawks, maybe even crows, coons, etc. I’m debating if I take a chance and let nature take its course, or lock them all up when I’m not around.
I think I resolved the first issue and also resolved keeping the chicks food separate from the hen’s food. First I added some sides to the ramp to discourage chicks from falling off the ramp. I also stuck a piece of wood in the coop as a partition. It isn’t high, but it is high enough to keep the chicks contained for the first few days. I doubt the older girls will want to go over the board, but if they do it won’t be a big problem. Here is a picture of the partition and a picture of the proud mom: