Homesteading 101: Post-Chick-Hatching Hens

My buff orpington, Penelope, recently hatched a chick. Yes, just 1. We gave her a clutch of 3 eggs to add to the 2 of her own that she was trying to hatch and out of the 5 she started out with, she broke all of them except for 1.

Anyway, her little chick (not even hers, really), was born June 23rd. Yesterday, Penelope laid her first post-chick egg. She also moved her and her chick from the “nursery coop” as we call it, to the main coop with the other chickens. They took over a nesting box for the night and she has switched from eating chick grower with the baby to eating layer pellet with the other hens. The baby is fully integrated into the flock and the rooster frequently moves to protect the chick when a hawk flies overhead or when I go into their area. It’s pretty cute.

So how long has it been? It has been 2 days shy of 4 weeks since the chick was born. In the last week, I noticed Penelope’s comb has gotten much redder, almost the normal color, and she has been shedding broken feathers and growing new ones on her breast, where she plucked herself bare during her time of hatching her egg. Subtle changes. And she is in no way “back to normal”, but she’s close.

I’d also like to note that the egg she laid was smaller than usual. Roughly 2/3 the size of a “normal” egg. Still bigger than the pullet eggs my Wellsummer is laying, but smaller than what she was laying before going broody.

With her coming back to the rotation, that brings our total number of laying hens up to 5. I can’t wait for some of the other pullets to start!


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