Welcome to Claire’s 3rd and final week of being broody. Over the weekend, we entered the ‘lockdown’ phase, as it’s called when you’re incubating eggs to hatch. This is the last three days (or starting on day 18) of the hatching process when the chicks need to maintain a certain temp and humidity in order to hatch.
On an incubator, there are dials and gauges to tell that.
How a hen knows, I can’t tell you but Claire didn’t leave the nest at all yesterday and spent most of it in a glassy-eyed fog.
The Broody Trance, finally.
I fed her eggs yesterday at dinner time and likely will today, as well.
She’s not as thin as Abby was but I’ll still give her some.
Tomorrow is the first potential hatch day.
In prep for Claire and her babies to join the flock, I did a Thing.
Those who remember back to November when Pip was hatched, I put Abby and baby Pip in huge box, shoved under the laying beds. One half of the box was nest and the other was for food and water.
It worked for them but the box was in the way and after they stopped using it, Abby would sit in the middle of the coop with Pip and just expected everyone to stay out of their way.
This would be why 1- Pip thinks the coop is His Domain and 2- all the older hens still find Pip vaguely annoying.
Well, I realized today that in roughly 48-hours I will have the same situation, on with 1-4 chicks, instead of one. AND on top of that, in a handful of weeks, I will integrating the Littles into the big flock.
Does anyone else see a recipe for potential disaster?
So I did A Thing.
I cleaned out (a little) the underneath area, where the chickens don’t really go and haven’t used since the were babies, stapled chicken wire in two sides with an opening in the middle, and creating a … maternity ward? Nursery?
If Claire accepts it, this unused space can be a place for a her baby nest, offer shelter and a safe place for her wee Littles to play … and it won’t take up any room in the coop that the older hens actually care about.
Setting it up now means the older chickens have a couple of days to get used to it being there.