Just as well too.
This morning, whilst checking that the broody was still looking after the chicks, I noticed, as she lifted her skirts to let the chicks in, she had an egg under there. She must have laid it after going into solitary.
I figured, she was likely to sit tight hoping to hatch one more egg out, so I snuck in and stole it away (and have the peck marks to prove it too!). The egg was blank by the way (not really a surprise given the cockerel was not in with her!), but one of the foster chicks is actually hers, so it doesn’t seem a bad deal.
By then, some of the chicks had wandered out from under her to investigate the water I had put in, and she got up for a drink too. I managed to count all 14. You could see her thinking about it..
so.. I had one egg, lost that, and have chicks. 1-1 = 14, hmm yes.. that must be right.
She is doing mother hen things, telling them about the chick crumb found conveniently in the corner (the chicks already knew about it, but were happy to rush forth when mum threw down a bit), and she tuts and clucks.
she has accepted them fine, it’s just predators and disease we have to worry about now, and they all have to face that.
So she is happy and so are they.And so am I, as they are doing hen things, and I have turned the heat lamp off.