Look out below!
Our first (and perhaps only) chick hatched yesterday...
And the other fertilized eggs, well, disappeared.
Yes, disappeared~ without a trace!
They were dated and had a sharpie "X" on each shell (there were 9 or 10).
They had been delivered/donated by our friends to our broody chicken so we could hatch a batch of chicks. We couldn't get near the nest when the chicken was broody, for fear of her sharp beak.
Every once in a while another hen would force her way into the nest box (in fact the hen who was on the nest when the egg hatched was not the original broody, but took over the nest box by force at some point).
When she was off the nest to protect the newly hatched chick, we were concerned about the remaining eggs and worried that they may not hatch after being left cold for a while.
We decided to 'candle' the eggs to detect movement/life. (Use a flashlight our friends, Kara & Rod, taught us~ candles aren't really used for candling eggs anymore! Who knew? No wonder our previous attempt at candling yielded no successful results!)
As we collected a few eggs for the gestation investigation, we noticed something odd.
The pile of eggs in her nest (still about 9 or 10) were not marked. No "X's."
Only one marked egg remained.
The others were just our ordinary non-fertile eggs that we would normally collect each day from our coop.
What happened to the fertile eggs we thought were so well protected under our hen?
This is quite a mystery!
We think maybe a creature found its way into the coop (it's not exactly vermin proof) and selectively took the fertile eggs.
At least now we know why there haven't been many eggs to collect lately! They've been hidden under a very protective hen.
Guess we need to find a better way to protect our young!