A day or two ago I swore I heard peeping coming from the nesting box where our barred rock hen has been sitting, patiently, for three weeks. But, I didn't see any chicks the next day so figured I was imagining things.
This afternoon, I went in to collect eggs and there was a little chick standing next to the hen, peeping away. It didn't look stressed and the hen was cooing in a most matronly way. Its very dark in the hen house, and even darker in the nesting box, so I don't have a picture to share.
I called to Brett and we crowded around the newborn, admiring and congratulating the hen. There is plenty of feed that falls to the floor so the chick(s) will be fine for food. Mama hen will teach them how to eat. The chicken water is up high, in a tall tub sitting on a concrete block, outside the hen house. The chick would never reach it so I hung a chick waterer low, within reach, in the hen house. Brett is going to put a ramp of some sort from the nesting box to the floor of the hen house so the chicks can get down when mama gives the high sign.
I don't know if anymore will hatch, or even if this one will survive, but we are very excited nonetheless. I promise to share pictures as soon as I am able and, in the meantime, I'll keep you posted on the progress. This first chick hatched from a dark brown Cuckoo Maran egg. Most of the eggs under the hen are either dark brown or green; it will be fun to see what we end up with.