Hatching baby chicks

One of our dear hens recently went broody. Beezus, a gold-laced cochin, starting sitting on eggs and did NOT want to leave the coop. I’d pick her up to gather eggs and place her outside the coop where she’d run around for a few minutes and maybe get a bite to eat before returning to her empty nest. Eggs or not – it didn’t seem to matter to her. She just wanted to sit.

I mentioned her broodiness to my farmer friend Michelle who suggested I put her on some fertile eggs and hatch chicks. Living in the city, we aren’t allowed to have roosters so we have no fertile eggs, but Michelle on the other hand does and was happy to trade me eight of our unfertilized eggs for eight of her possibly fertilized eggs.

I made Beezus a nice little nesting box in our shed to keep the other chickens and any other animals from bothering her and she went right to work sitting on “her” new eggs.

The nest of eggs

Mama Beezus sits on "her" eggs

The incubation period for chickens is about 21 days.

Around day 7 we candled our eggs (held a bright light to them) to try to see if chicks were growing in them. My husband has some powerful flashlights and that made the viewing all the better. We only candled 4 or 5 of them, but we saw blood vessels and movement in three of them. It was pretty amazing! It was starting to look like we were really going to have babies!

After a few more weeks of waiting, on June 23, I noticed the eggs were pipping and we could hear the peeping of the chicks from inside the eggs. They were starting to hatch!

Instagram video of the eggs with little holes

The next morning, June 24, we had a few chicks! The rest hatched throughout the day. Out of eight eggs, we ended up with six chicks — three gold and three brown!
Fresh baby chicks

The kids welcomed them with love.

Ava and Julian with the chicks

The chicks are now 17 days old and still extremely adorable. Mama Beezus has been doing a great job of teaching them the ways of the world. She taught them how to drink and eat, and she keeps them warm at night. She’s a great mom.

Here are a few videos:

If you have the opportunity to hatch chicks in this way with a broody hen, I highly recommend it. Mama hen takes care of just about everything. You get to just sit back, relax and enjoy the show. And what a cute show it is.

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6 thoughts on “Hatching baby chicks

  1. Oh, so cute!

    We have a light sussex that *frequently* goes broody. I really wanted to get her some eggs or chicks last summer (it’s winter here now), but I do plan to next summer. I’ve talked to my kids about the fact that we’d have to (gulp) eat some of them, but could probably keep too. They seem okay with it, so far.

    I would love them to get to experience that full cycle of life. And, well, I’d like to just hold the cute chicks myself too :)

  2. That’s a lovely story, Amy. We’re currently housesitting for friends and that includes minding 10 chickens. I notice one of them is quite broody and I’m having to lift her off eggs every day. She’ll sit on as many as she can. There are no roosters so there aren’t any fertile eggs. Perhaps she feels her biological chicken clock ticking.

  3. My mom did the same thing with her backyard hens and it was so much fun caring for and holding the chicks! Unfortunately she had to move and re-home all of her chickens. I miss them!

  4. Oh they are so much fun. I miss when we lived in the county and had chickens and peacocks in the back yard. These birds are so territorial and so much fun to watch their little antics.

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