So back in the spring, Dolly went SUPER broody. Like, NOTHING would dissuade her from sitting on a nest day and night. I finally decided to get her some fertile eggs from a friend of mine. I honestly wasn’t planning on her staying on the nest for the entire three weeks, and so I didn’t cancel my order for a dozen chicks from the feed store.

Well. Dolly surprised me.

Not only did she sit on those eggs, but she hatched out eight of the nine that survived getting broken in the Nest Wars before I moved her to her private suite. I ended up with four each of little red and little black barnyard mutts.

The very next day my chick order came in at the feed store. I had ordered six each of Delawares and barred rocks. As it turned out the hatchery sent an extra rock, so I brought home a baker’s dozen of chicks. I ended up tucking a few of them under Dolly, and the rest under Gwen, another Orpington who was broody, though not quite as stubbornly dedicated. I figured they could split the chicks between the two of them, eleven for Dolly and ten for Gwen. Well…that’s not what happened. Instead, all but four of the chicks defected over to Gwen, and she dutifully tucked every single one of her brood of seventeen underneath her:

In the intervening weeks, she and Gwen did a bang-up job of taking care of the chicks. I always plan for some attrition due to disease or predation, and yet every single one of those twenty-one chicks has made it to the ripe old age of seven weeks:

I’m afraid a significant number of them, to include three quarters of the barnyard mutts, are roosters. Which means there’s a good chance that most, if not all, of the pullets will avoid going to Freezer Camp and stay in the egg flock. I’m hoping I can keep one good rooster, preferably one of the Delawares, and the rest will feed me throughout the winter.

For now, though, I just need to hope that we’ll survive a dozen or so roosters going through puberty.

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