I never intended to hatch my own chicks but chicken math has no regard for my plans. My hatching addiction started innocently enough with a request for a Brinsea incubator for my birthday a few years ago. After witnessing the miracle of my first chick hatching, I had The Fever, for which there is no cure. The idea that an egg can transform from potential breakfast food into fluffy cuteness in 21 days completely captivates me. The Fever has taken over my kitchen counter, garage and basement and demanded the construction of a second coop. If you build it, more will hatch.
My husband built the "Little Deuce Coop."
It seems such a waste of good genetics to eat these beauties.
Top to bottom:April, Rachel, Mabel & Beatrice.Max's departure. I have more eggs than I can fit in my bators and, as luck would have it, I have four hens that are broody! < evil laugh> A broody hen is one who is inspired (by lighting conditions and hormones) to sit on eggs and hatch chicks.
SuperBroody, April (a Buff Orpington)Since broodies occupy all four of my nest boxes, the other hens are forced to lay eggs in the corner of the coop or double-up in a nesting box to lay eggs. If for some reason I was not going to allow my hens to hatch eggs (for instance, if I had no fertile eggs for them) then I would have to 'break' them of their maternal aspirations. The reasons to break up a broody hen and how to do so can be found here.
The nest looks like a pillow fight broke out and the reason for that is broodies pluck feathers off themselves to allow the warmth of their skin to make direct contact with the eggs.
I don't mind being a hatch-a-holic and look forward to having The Fever indefinitely. It is a privilege to have a front-row seat to witness the miracle of life.