Ok, so I caved and gave broody Rory some eggs to hatch. It can be her Christmas present. Rory, Paris and Frodo have been broody off and on since before Spring. It seems Frodo’s broody tendencies have passed on to them, which is interesting, as she is their grandma and I hardly had a sniff of broodiness from Frodo’s actual daughters. Well, good for them, as this point of usefulness will help them in the impending decision of which chickens to keep as babies increase the flock number.
Rory had already been solidly broody for a week so I needed to hurry up and give her eggs. I have been trying to save eggs from Annie again but Annie continues to fluctuate between good eggs and thin-shelled or soft-shelled eggs. If she wasn’t a good-looking hen and the only one of her genetics in my flock I wouldn’t bother. I managed to get three Annie eggs, so I also chose four Betty eggs, since she’s less related to the rooster than the other available egg-layers, and three Rory eggs (Australorp-Wyandotte cross) to make up the number to 10. I will have to either be onto it in checking hatched chicks or move some eggs elsewhere for hatching. Annie chicks would be black, Betty chicks would be black or blue and Rory chicks would be black. Rory is from a cross of a single comb father (rrpp) with a rose comb mother (RRpp), meaning her comb gene combination is Rrpp. 50% of her and Darrington’s offspring ought to have rose combs (Rrpp) and 50% single combs (rrpp), so I need to make sure Rory chicks don’t get mixed up with purebred Australorp chicks, as they could be hard to tell apart.
Rory took well to her new digs in the big cage but things got off to a shaky start. One of the Annie eggs got broken. Its shell was too thin, which I had overlooked in my eagerness to hatch eggs from her. Some egg contents got on the other eggs, which I cleaned off with a dry paper towel and hoped for the best.
I candled the nine eggs yesterday, Day 8. All except for one Betty egg I’m not sure about had visible veins. This is excellent! Especially for the Annie eggs. Rory is doing a great job. She is an extremely dedicated sitter, even more dedicated than Frodo. I have to get her up off the eggs and try and force her to drink water and eat some food. She’s only pooped once or twice in the cage so I have to get her out into the pen to actually poop. As soon as she sees the eggs she’s straight back on them again. It’s just going to be a challenge to make sure she has enough nourishment. The chicks are due to hatch on 4th/5th January.
Meanwhile, in the Corner Pen with the two mummies and five chicks… Paris was starting to get a bit aggressive towards Frodo. Not in a really hurtful way, but pecking or rushing at her sometimes, which seemed stressful for them and the chicks. I decided that two mummies, well, at least when one’s a Paris, was unnecessary for five chicks, so I removed Paris back into the main flock to see what would happen. The chicks were 2 1/2 weeks old by this stage. At first Paris hung around the fence, trying to get back in, but quite quickly she was off doing her own thing. And trying to boss the others around again. She seems to be doing fine and sometimes says hi to the chicks through the fence. Frodo is much happier looking after the chicks by herself.