I now have 10 eggs, sitting quietly in a nest box, waiting for one of my Rhode Island Reds to get broody, and FINISH THE JOB. I am beginning to wonder if I should just bite the proverbial bullet and get an incubator, it would certainly save this continual battle. If it's one of the little jungle birds, I was having those show up randomly, poof, instant family. (Ok, they used to. Since most of them are about 7 or so, they aren't laying eggs, ergo they aren't magically showing up with chicks.) These birds... No doing, I save out eggs for them, and the hens just look at me. *sigh*
I read that one of the local feed stores will continue to have chicks until May 25. I may hedge my bets and get 5 or 6. If the eggs don't end up being helped along by a hen, I would still have chicks. If they do, I would have some older, and some younger chicks, which might be good, too.
I have put a small X on each egg (I know, should have been a small Y today, oopsie), so I know for sure that there isn't someone laying extras in that nest. I had a hen that was tiny, she ended up sitting on something on the order of 22 eggs. Several didn't hatch, obviously. When you have a 5 egg butt, you can't set 22 eggs... She was very persistent, and I let her try. I was sooo careful throwing the eggs away when she finished though. One of my friend's sons asked if he could have the eggs, I told him I knew which teacher he didn't like, so no. (He blushed scarlet after that remark...)