Jim's flock of chickens has provided a lot of entertainment and a lot of eggs throughout the time we've had them, but this morning, Jim found out that they managed to provide something else as well:
We have Wyandott and Aricauna hens for their eggs, but we have the Silkie chickens for their ability to hatch eggs. Most commercial laying hens have had the brooding instinct bred out of them, but not Silkies. They'll hatch not only their own eggs, but other hens' eggs, too.
Although we didn't plan to have Silkie roosters, when we bought them, we didn't have a choice about their sex, and turns out we have two Silkie roosters. Jim tried to give them away, but there were no takers, so they got busy doing what roosters in a henhouse do. It wasn't long before a hen was sitting on a clutch of eggs and refusing to let Jim have them.
Over time, she lost control of the eggs somehow... either kicking them out of her nest accidentally or perhaps one of the other Silkies kicked them out when she got up to eat. Those were always sad finds for Jim.
But yesterday, Jim heard tiny peeping and today he found the source. He brought the little fuzzybutt into the house to show me and to take a quick photo. We wondered whether or not to keep him inside to make sure he gets enough water during the cold weather, but have decided to leave him with his mother for now and monitor him closely. Our temperatures have been well below zero lately, but the coop generally stays about 20 degrees warmer inside. If he needs to come inside, we're prepared, but we hope he can stay with his family.
Merry Cheepy Christmas!