About 3 weeks ago I started finding silkie eggs in the ground nesting boxes again. I had 3 possible suspects.
First up is Frank: She hatched out her babies about 2 months ago and I'm expecting her to start laying again very soon.
Next up is Snowball: She's about 8 months old and she started to lay this summer, but has apparently taken a winter break. I'm hoping she started back up!
Last up is Pepper: She's about 5 months old and should start laying soon.
Turns out I caught BOTH pepper and snowball in nesting boxes one day, and happened to get 2 eggs that day! Yeay! Of course, that doesn't mean that Frank isn't laying. (short for Frankenstein....she had a vaulted skull when she hatched. The kids names her! lol) She could be also.
Well of course this can't just be as easy as a few hens laying. Oh no! Pepper has decided to set her eggs.
DAY 1: Pepper got all comfy on the floor of the coop in front of the nest box while her egg sat all alone inside. I picked her up and set her on the egg and she settled in comfortably.
DAY 2: The egg was so buried under the wood chips it was stone cold. So I dug it out and gave her a few eggs I had collected over the previous days. I cleaned out her nest box, changed the bedding and put her back and she settled in happily.
DAY 3: Pepper woke up in the nest box, but came out for breakfast and instead of going back in the nest box, she settled down in front of it again. I picked her up and put her back in and she settled in. I came back a few hours later and she was sitting all puffed up, with most of the eggs in front of her NOT under her! Silly bird....I put her back in place.
DAY 4: Today. This morning Pepper was in her nest box on ALL her eggs (5 eggs) I'll give her another 2 days and if she's doing ok I will candle the eggs and see how they are doing. It's a good chance that all this on the nest/off the nest stuff caused the eggs to quit developing. If that is the case, I will swap them for fresh eggs (presumably laid by Snowball and maybe Frank) and see if she can make it work.
It's her first time, and many hens have trouble with their first clutch. If all else fails, I'm going to be hatching for the spring season soon so I can break out the mini Brinsea and hatch her a few.
Wish her luck!