This should be interesting (to me at least)... We have ceramic eggs in four of our laying bins to encourage the hens to put eggs where we want them. The usual laying areas have been taken over by some young pullets who haven't started roosting yet, so those particular spots are, well, disgusting. The hens did well with the concept, so all was quite well. But several days ago our C.Maran started to go broody, which seems odd given the season. But she's been doing a fine job of caressing and protecting two ceramic eggs, and she's got the muscle/attitude to keep the leghorns from climbing in with her to lay and step on eggs unlike the Aussie who went broody last time (she lost the clutch due to the Leghorns). So Melinda and I gethered 13 eggs and got them marked and ready for the incubator (she set them this morning after I left for the office). The idea is to let mama sit on the ceramic eggs, and the night before hatch replace them with the real eggs. This morning Melinda set the remaining ceramics under her to get her used to a larger clutch...she decided she was done. So now we've got eggs in the incubator and will be hatching them ourselves unless the Maran goes back to the nest. We'll see. In the meantime (pics will have to wait) here is the order of eggs: All eggs are Rhode Island Red rooster over the listed hen: R1 - refrigerated easter egger R2 - refrigerated australorp 3 - barred rock 4 - australorp 5 - barred rock 6 - welsummer 7 - easter egger 8 - easter egger 9 - easter egger 10 - leghorn 11 - leghorn 12- leghorn 13 - leghorn This winter we've noticed a drop in the shell quality from last spring and summer, perhaps due to less forage available. But we are moving forward regardless and will be happy with any chicks that make it to hatch. Hopefully the hen will get back into the brood mood.