Last month, my fellow chicken-crazy gardening pal Jan came by with a dozen fertile eggs she'd just bought. Trouble was, her incubator wouldn't hold them all, and it just so happened that Broomhilda, the big black Orpington hen, had once again gone broody. She was about to go down the road, as I don't need broody, I need eggs. I do not have a rooster for just that reason.
20 days later, I was out in the barn when I heard a tiny peeping noise from under Broomhilda. There were three newly hatched chicks, with the last green egg just showing signs of the exit strategy of the occupant (the other beige egg was one of Buffy's, not fertile).
The next day, one of the racing striped chicks just flat disappeared and no, Good Cat wasn't responsible. I had already laid down the law to him the previous day, and a few hours after that, he was sporting a bloody spot on his head, courtesy of Big Momma Broomhilda I'm sure. Never found a trace of that little one, but the survivors have thrived, and grown noticeably every day. The silver one adopted Buffy as momma for some reason, and Broomhilda doesn't seem to mind.
Hopefully, at least one of them is a pullet. First one that crows, goes down the road to Juan for dinner
Teaching the brood how to turn the barnyard into a minefield in search of dust baths and bugs