And the eggs hatch!
Midnight is the name of the Silkie cross we adopted last year from the Westside, along with her sister Lacy. They are broody little hens, meaning when there are eggs nearby, these ladies are quick to "bogart" them and sit on 'em like it's their job...cuz to them and the breed, apparently it is. Since last fall, Midnight has made several failed attempts to hatch a clutch. The weather was very cold and I suspect the few times she did leave to eat, that was just enough to chill the egss. Other times she took on more eggs than she could properly keep warm.
By May, she refused to leave her newest bundle of eggs for more than seconds. Her chest was nearly featherless (warmth conduction) and lord was she smellin' FUNKY. Hawaiians use a word called "kauna" (cow-nuh) and it's the perfect word to say, with emphasis on the first syllable. She was just plain Kauna. Last Saturday, heading out to feed the birds lettuce and rice scraps, David called to me to hurry and see Midnight in the coop run. She was off her eggs. Then, out from either wing were two fuzzy chicks to her sides. She had hatched four of six eggs (none of which were actually her own) and now we have two blonde and two reddish babies right in the thick of 20+ hens.
She's an excellent mama. She goes batshit crazy if the other hens get too close to her babies. She's shown them how to forage, where to get water, how to dirtbathe (not that they need it!), scratching, and she nuzzles with them in the yard and, at night, in the coop run where all are safely locked in. It's really nice to see how the assimilation goes down in nature versus hatching from the incubator. There's immediate acceptance into the flock, sans "hazing."
Just what we never planned on: four new beaks to feed. May the new babies all be pullets!