After all the fretting and worrying about whether or not I had done everything right...
...should I have moved the eggs?
...will the hen sit still on the eggs long enough?
...have I provided a good enough brooder for the hen and the chicks?
...it looks as though I can relax just a little bit today, as yesterday was the day the first two chicks hatched out of their eggs!
I realised this morning, that the broody hen was in fact Queenie. Queenie was one of the chickens we rescued a couple of years back, and was and still is, the only hen to actually stand up to Rhydian. I remember when she came in, Rhydian started to boss her around, when she reared up, with all her neck feathers standing on end - it made her look like a spitting cobra - the effect was so dramatic! She has been the one most friendly towards me - I feel awful I didn't realise it was her.
I went over this morning to let the rest of the ladies (and Rhydian) out to free range as usual, and to check on the broody hen and the eggs. Inside the coop I heard some definite 'cheeps', so excitedly I open the door and looked inside - there was a little tiny, white head peeping out from under Queenie's rear feathers!
I snuck inside a bit further and sat down on the hay next to the brooder, when ANOTHER head popped out. This one was a light brown colour with a dark stripe on it's head, and looked so cute!
While I was there I couldn't help but pick one up and just marvel at the whole aspect of a new life starting. This was totally unexpected - and I've only had a couple of days to adjust to the thought of possibly having chicks hatching - I just hope that I can look after them well enough for them to survive and prosper.
As I was sitting there, I filled up the small 1kg feeder with chick crumbs and the coffee cap with water (washed out thoroughly of course!). I then held both in front of Queenie one at a time so she knew that they were food and drink for her babies. Hopefully she will show the chicks how to eat and drink properly - at least that's the plan!
Here's a photo of them clambering a bit under the watchful eye of Queenie.
I also took a few little movies - they can be seen on my Youtube channel here, as well as this one below.
You can hear their little cheeps, but you can also hear Queenie telling the chicks to behave themselves!
I'll be keeping regular updates on these little things, so keep checking back for the latest news!
The newest addition to our family!
We now have FOUR chicks!