This morning I went out to the chicken yard and with a sinking feeling, did a head count and came up one Muscovy hen short. They can fly pretty well and love to fly the length of the yard but sometimes misjudge and go over the fence. Usually they just waddle around and wait at the gate to be let back in, but this time, I scoured the surrounds and didn't see her. They usually stick together as a group, but as a last resort, I checked inside the coop in case she went in to eat by herself and there she was. No, not at the feeder. Sitting in a nest. WHAT??? She is only 4 months old and I thought at this point they wouldn't lay until next Spring??? A little while later she was back out with the others so I went to check where she had been sitting and no egg. So I guess it was a "dry run", but even so, I didn't think they'd be interested in practicing until they were closer to actually laying so I dunno.....time will tell.
Danz, sorry about your BO. Was she very old? Perhaps she had a heart attack or died of some other natural cause?
Speaking of old BO's, I have a hen who is more than 3 years old and still laying 2-3 eggs a week. She's been such a good girl that I decided to go ahead and incubate one of her eggs to try to get a daughter from her, to carry on when she is too old. I've seen Cyrus mount her and her eggs that we eat appear to have good fertility so on my last batch I threw one of her eggs in, but had to pull it early as candling at 7-days revealed a porous egg that was not developing. So when I set a second batch, I had another of her eggs laid that day and threw it in (after first checking it was not porous). This egg started to develop and I was pleased but at the 14-day candling yesterday, it looked like it stopped developing and there was no movement. I opened it up and it looks like it stopped around day 10. Nothing happened incubator-wise at that time and this was the only egg that stopped so I'm starting to think "old" eggs just don't develop as well. Perhaps, as with people, as the hen gets older, the genetic material of the egg starts to deteriorate. I'm guessing this fetus died because something was going wrong with its development. Oh well, I tried.