Last week one of our hens, Scratchy, died. I knew something was up with her the day before, when she hadn't come bounding out of the coop as I opened the door. Rather, she quietly hung out in the chicken run drinking water and occasionally pecking at the food. This was the first I'd noticed anything being amiss with her, and by the next day she was dead. That same day, the kids noticed that one of the white chickens we had raised from the batch of chicks this past Spring had hidden a few eggs in the leaves under our wood rack. In light of Scratchy's passing, they asked if we could try to hatch a new baby chick. Having looked into the matter previously, I was a bit dubious about our prospects for two reasons:
1. Incubating eggs is surprisingly tricky, and seemed best done by either a store bought incubator or a live chicken.
2. Brown Spot, our rooster, is so hen pecked - both by actual hens and our well intentioned children - that I doubt he has actually gotten his groove on enough fertilize many eggs.
Nevertheless, it seemed like a fun project to do with the kids on a day off school. We built the incubator completely out of materials that were laying around the house. The only thing we had to purchase was a 25 watt light bulb. Everything was put together, and in went the 3 eggs. We counted out the 21 days it should take for them to grow, and as luck would have it, the prospective hatch day is the boys' 8th birthday. Will anything come of this? I hope so, but I'm not going to hold my breath.