I have to admit I haven't thought this out much. Last year we hatched with an incubator and I fussed TOO much and lost most of the eggs/chicks.
This year we slipped fertile bantam eggs under our full size Australorp. Two others int eh flock are a Welsummer and a Light Sussex, both full size.
Mama is nesting on the floor of the "upstairs bedroom" in one of those pre-fab coops you get off ebay. The other girls have been laying eggs and somehow they end up under the mama. I disturbed mam by accident this morning and she got off the nest to reveal one fluffy We've now got one chick (yay!) and one pipped. Candled the eggs and withdrew 2 out of 8 last week. 4 more (??) I picked up the baby (hope that was ok!) and the Light Sussex pecked at her in my hand. Mama hadn't bonded yet, but ran back up pretty quickly when she heard the peeps.
The Welsummer has gone up and peacefully layed an egg. I'm a little surprised there wasn't a fuss!
A few questions:
Has mama hen been getting up to retrieve the new eggs, and if so are we looking at a low hatch rate?
How soon do the new chicks need food and water?
Should I move the mama and chick down to floor level in the coop?
Are pine shavings ok bedding for chicks?
Lastly, i noticed small black mites a few days ago and did a minor dusting, but didn't change the bedding. No mites on the eggs I gathered today, so that's a good sign, but mama hen's wattle is a bit pale. Could that be becasue she's been sitting for 3 weeks? Or is it more likely the mites? She is not lethargic.
Thanks for any advice!