November 12, 2013: We bought our first brood of chicks two and a half years ago, and since then I have been waiting and hoping for one of our girls to go broody so that we could have our very own home-grown babies. It's one thing to buy chicks from a feed store or online, but the idea of having chicks that were the actual descendants of our own chickens was exciting. This past March, we had the opportunity to buy straight-run bantams--breed and gender unknown, but an exciting prospect. I knew that most bantam varieties are more likely to go broody than pretty much anything else available to us at the time, so I convinced my parents and my husband to take a chance on them. Sure enough, one of the hens--a bantam cochin named Anna--went broody in mid-October, and just today, the very first chicks hatched! I call them "Uno" and "Dos". More may follow, as you can see from the clutch of eggs in the background. Uno is the offspring of another bantam cochin and an unknown daddy (I have my suspicions, but won't know until he's older). Dos is a mystery. I don't even know who laid the egg, so his parents could be any one of several candidates. If I had to guess, though, I'd say Daddy is an Easter Egger roo named Gryffindor. As you can see in the pic, there are still eggs left to hatch. I'm fairly certain at least two of them are duds, but since I'm new to the whole practice of incubating eggs and candling, I won't discard them until I'm sure. In addition, the other bantam cochin (Uno's bio-mom) has gone broody herself, and is sitting on a clutch of eggs as well. I know this is a dreadful time to be hatching out chicks, but it's worth a try, especially with two such stubborn mamas! I am pleased to say that Anna is proving to be a magnificent mom. She left the nest to eat and drink, but when Dos started crying that he was cold, she rushed back and warmed him up. She's doing a great job! I'll keep you posted with updates on the chicks as they hatch/grow! P.S. Here's a photo of the mama, from Oct 28. 11-13-2013 Great family portrait of Anna, Uno and Dos! 11-14-2013 Two new arrivals hatched today! Tres is probably an orpington mix, and Quatro is an Easter Egger--daddy's unknown. I filmed this clip knowing that a third chick had hatched, but the fourth was a surprise! 11-15-2013 It warmed up enough today that we were able to let the babies out for some playtime in the sun. They needed a little coaxing because they didn't know how to navigate the ramp, but once they were all down on the ground, they had a blast. After a good frolic, we put them back in the brooder to warm up. 11-23-2013 While Anna was setting her brood, another bantam cochin named Mrs. O'Brien kept sneaking in and adding new eggs. At about a week and a half along, I realized there were more eggs in the nest than there should be, but couldn't tell which ones were which. Rather than risk discarding a developing egg, I left them all there and figured what would hatch would hatch. A couple of weeks later, of course, Uno, Dos, Tres, and Quatro hatched, but before they did, Mrs. O'Brien (The sneaky hen) went broody herself! So by the time the first four were ready to start exploring beyond the nest, I was able to take the late-start eggs and tuck them under O'Brien, taking advantage of the opportunity to finish hatching out the babies that had already gotten so far. Sure enough, this morning, Cinco arrived! Say hi, Cinco! Once Cinco has gotten a little bigger and stronger, I'll put him in with the older chicks so that O'Brien can focus on hatching out the rest of the eggs. I've already confirmed that Anna will accept him, but she's just too active right now for a newborn who only wants to snuggle. Cinco looks to be a pure-bred buff bantam cochin like his mother--perhaps the only purebred chick we will ever hatch out with this motley batch of chickens! Meanwhile, the older chicks are staring to get their proper feathers in.