I don't know how soon or even if dad (Hellbender) will be back on line but I will be picking him up from the hospital on Wednesday, provided everything continues as now. We appreciate all the good wishes and good will expressed, both on the threads and by PM.
ETA: My sister now sees why I'm putting MY foot down regarding the use of brood hens. We had a plethora of these gals, including 3 Cahnteclers go broody and Ariel shoved eggs under everyone. I can see the advantage of the brood hen for some folks under certain conditions but we simply are not set up for them, at least not in my opinion.
We have bunches of little chicks chasing after their mammies all over this place and while it does free up brooders and removes a bit of labor, it also takes away all control over the situation. A couple of the Chantecler gals are overly protective of their broods and will shin-flog humans and jump all over the dogs that protect the flock during the day. This will be the last 'year of the broody'around this place, except for perhaps one or two if Ariel just wants to play around with them.
We are using the ID numerals that dad got from Linda and in my opinion, they are perfect. We're in the process of snagging each brood and banding them, couple broods at a time in the evenings. Also adding an extra digit for the hens that are especially good moms for future reference...just in case.
So glad to hear he's coming home! Give him a big hug from me!
Mama hens can be pretty hard to deal with. I was lucky with my last one, Mama Lily, because I'd already gone through a hatch with her and she knew I meant her no harm. After 3 weeks of raising the babies she was ready to leave them and started laying eggs again. I've got one more hen sitting on eggs due to hatch this week, and Dolly Mama is NOT tolerant of me at all. This is her first clutch and I'm hoping she'll chill out over time, but I'm definitely missing the control of using an incubator.