On time, 21 days after my egg tragedy, I was prepared for a new strategy. Since moving the hen and eggs a day before their due date didn’t work, and leaving them alone last year only gave me a small survival rate, I was ready with a new idea.
The plan is to let the hen remain where she is, on her nest box, happily setting on ten eggs. As they hatch, I’m going to kidnap… chicknap… each one and bring it to the house. The hen will continue to lay on the remainder of the eggs. Once they are all hatched, I will see if she wants to take them back, but let them and her live temporarily in my woodshed. If she doesn’t want them, no big deal, I will treat them as if they’ve arrived in the mail, motherless. I will keep them separate, which will create problems as they are older… but, hopefully, keep them safer from cats, dogs, and the bald eagle that loves to sit in a nearby cottonwood.
So… I was very excited to see this, this afternoon.
See that egg? The chick is beginning to pip! Yay! Now the whole process can take an hour or twelve… so I didn’t touch it, but returned to the house. Two hours later, I returned, unfortunately to a partially hatched chick, now dead.
Shit happens. Calves die, pups die, lambs die. It sucks.
There’s still nine eggs under my broody hen, but I’ve just hiked out there in the moonlight and nothing seems to be happening. We will see if I wake to any chicks in the morning… keeping my fingers crossed.