Some may remember that I was very interested, last spring, in incubating eggs and having my chicks arrive not through the mail but from our own hens. I bought an incubator (after failing to build one) and made several attempts to hatch my own. My success rate was never more than 30%.
Thankfully, one of my hens did a much better job, sat 9 eggs (not all her own), and gave us 6 lovely new chicks. Oddly, she removed 3 eggs days before the others hatched as they began to pip; had I found them earlier I may have gotten them into the incubator and saved them… I always believed Mother Nature was better suited to making baby chicks than my Styrofoam incubator and she proved me correct.
Four weeks ago I got the incubator out again, anyway, as my duck had been laying eggs and getting a nest together, but my brother and his dog came to visit and the dog ate several of the eggs. Instead of returning to that nest my ducks abandoned the four eggs still present. On a whim I decided to try the incubator again. A week in I candled them, found one to be clear, one appeared dead (and smelled badly) and 2 looked to be in good order. This past weekend on of those hatched.
Happily I do not expect this to be the only hatching this spring. My duck has gone back to laying and currently has a clutch of ten eggs. She has not yet started sitting, but she is closely monitoring her nest and chasing everyone away, so I have hope that she will do her wonderful job, soon. Additionally, one of my little red hens has been escaping the pen and attempting to hide her eggs. We were doing a pretty good job keeping track of her until last week. I was actually worried she had come to harm but we found her. She had hidden herself under our canoe (go figure) and is currently sitting 15 eggs! Finally, one of my turkeys is also sitting; she has several, maybe a dozen (its been hard to tell) but I am not certain any of hers will even be viable, but I’m thrilled she is making the effort.