Wednesday, March 17, 2010
I thought I'd take a look in the barn. One of the Cuckoo Marans hens has been setting for three weeks. I am eager to see if she hatches anyone. So far the couple of eggs she's pushed out of the nest showed no sign of development. I also hope to buy a few chicks at the feed store to put under her, so that I won't have to worry about the heat lamp. I'm even considering a pair of Indian Runner Ducks, just for the fun of them!
When I went into the barn, all the hens came clickety cluckety to see what tasty morsels I might have for them. As I scattered the scratch I looked in the nest box and what did I see? Eleven eggs and no hen! Where was the Mama??
Well, if you look carefully, you'll see her in this picture.
I've never seen a broody leave the barn, however, while on nest duty, so I feared she'd given up. I returned to the nest to gather the old, incubated eggs, figuring I would do the dreaded science experiment of cracking them open to see if anything was developing. But when I touched the first one it was warm. Quite warm, as if she had just fled the moment I first stepped into the barn.
I left nine of the 11 eggs in the nest. Eleven is too many to fit under her, really, and could be the reason nothing's hatching. And indeed, the two I opened were in states of partial development and rot. BLECH!
When I returned to the barn half an hour later, Mama Broody was back on her nest, in her peaceful zen state.
Perhaps we'll get a blessed event after all.