I have 4 RI mixed (with ?) hens and a mixed roo (he has lovely blue legs and beautiful teal tail feathers) When one of the hens went broody..refusing to leave the nest, wouldn't even get on the roost..I just decided to let her do her thing and left the eggs. I decided that she could only really cover 8 so I marked them with pencil (not a great choice, it rubs off) and daily removed any more eggs. At least one of the other hens tried to contribute daily, I often found them sitting together.
One egg got broken, but it was obviously developing so I was encouraged! I didn't have exact dates, but at about 3 weeks I was looking for hatching...Yea! Monday evening when I went to close the coop, there was a chick...not with the mama, but running around under the coop, cheeping furiously, and with an injury on the side of it's head. (This is in the main coop with all the adults. I really didn't know if this was because she had rejected the chick or what, but I dropped it back in with her, not knowing what I'd find in the morning.)
Morning had 2 more chicks! All 3 seemed vigorous. I had already put chick feed and water in the coop for Mom, I thought she looked dehydrated. The chicks were drinking and eating and mom was still on the remaining 4 eggs. By late afternoon they were all out of the coop and Mom was force marching them around the house..I was exhausted watching the little guys try to keep up! I thought now was the time to take away the other 4 eggs..but 2 of them peeped! I knew that she had left the nest for some fairly long periods of time, so I left them.
That night she and the chicks had settled down under the coop...the chicks couldn't get up the ramp to get back in, we have coons and other predators so I couldn't leave them out there..so hubby and me wrangled (very hard work!) the 4 of them into the coop.
the 3 chicks were hatched Monday...on Friday another egg hatched. Three days behind, but still was taken out on the forced march! What a drill sargent mom is! 3 nights of wrangling to get them back in the coop. Saturday I again was ready to dispose of the egg. It peeped....I put it under a light in my kitchen (she really hadn't been near this egg for 2 days. It hatched! Again lets see what happens and I tucked it in with her at night.
On Sunday she didn't take the chicks out. Or on Monday. (Does she know they can't keep up?) Tuesday she took them out, and though the little ones are lagging behind, they sort of keep up.
I got home late and she was in the nest with chicks with her (I wasn't going to disturb her to count and I didn't hear any peeps elsewhere) but this morning I found the smallest 2 outside...where they had been all night! they are fine and back with Mom.
Anything else I can do wrong?