This year I’m raising chicks from hatchings under both broody hens and in the incubator, focussing mainly on Plymouth Rocks as I love their dual-purpose hardiness and have always had a fondness for anything stripy… These chicks hatched yesterday – so proud of mother hen who hatched 6 of the 8 eggs I gave her to sit on – both her capacity as a broody and the fertility of the eggs were unproven so it’s been a delightful result. So far she seems to be caring for her young ones beautifully. I have another hen on 8 more eggs, and I’m loading my snazzy new incubator tomorrow.  It has all the new-fangled digital bells and whistles imaginable – it’ll take 24 eggs… more than my broody hens… but not, i think, as gratifying for the soul as seeing nature doing its thing.

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