We keep bantams, and every couple of years let one of them rear a brood, to make up for the losses the fox occasionally inflicts. The children like it too, especially after they've had to tearfully follow the trail of feathers through the wood when a favourite has been taken.
If a hen has six or seven eggs, once five or so have hatched she loses interest in the others and lets them go cold. All her attention is given to the chicks. Two years ago we were clearing out the unhatched, cold eggs, when we heard a feeble cheeping from two of them and saw that they had tried and failed to break out. So we took them indoors and delivered them by breaking the shells ourselves. One chick died but the other survived. The mother won't take them back so we ended up taking the chick on holiday with us and feeding it ourselves. They 'imprint' on the person who cares for them and so the chick (now a hen) is still tame and is always wandering into the house. The kids used to put her on the handlebars of the bike and gve her rides round the garden. Must find the photo.
We've got another one this year. The computer is on 24/7 keeping it warm, at night her (or his - may be a cockerel) box goes above the monitor which stays on.
S/he was hatched on Sunday. All blogging is currently carried out to an accompaniment of cheeping.
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