Chicks

I have a terrible hawk problem and lose 5 to 10% of my free range layers to hawks, especially in the fall.  After much research, I purchased speckled sussex chicks because their coloring protected them from hawk predation.  While that has proved true, the down side has been that as the weather improves in the spring, the silly hens stop laying in the hen house and lay in nests in the woods, sometimes broody, sometimes not.  I get a great number of eggs from them for the winter and then bam, no eggs.

In June, during one of my son’s air soft battles, a nest was discovered with 18 eggs.  A startled hen fled it.  Was she broody or just laying that day?  I couldn’t tell and I didn’t want to risk eating the eggs if they were old or filled with a developing chick so I did the next best thing and tossed them in my digital incubator.  Two days ago they started hatching and by the end of the day yesterday we had 13 chicks, all speckled sussex chicks except one lone black one.

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