I've had a bit of a problem in the hen house these past few weeks. You see, Lady Sussex has turned broody and has been sitting on her eggs morning, noon and night. She rarely leaves them except to occasionally eat. The problem (for her) is there's not a rooster in sight, so those eggs are never going to hatch. Taking the advice of my father-in-law Arthur, I removed all the eggs and attempted to separate her from the nesting spot, but without a secure and safe alternative place to keep her, it was no use.
Lady Sussex went bananas after I took the eggs. I have never heard such a commotion come from one hen! The plan failed.
So I was left with two options. Option one - Let her sit on the unfertilized eggs and hope she 'got over being broody'. If chickens stay on unfertilized eggs for too long they can catch all sorts of diseases and die. Option two would be to slip some fertilized eggs under her and hope they hatch.
I chose option two.
A quick search on Google found me someone selling fertilized eggs up north.
A few emails later I had arranged delivery via express post. The eggs arrived the next day, safely wrapped, and all individually marked with the breed. One egg is a Light Sussex (the same as her) the rest are Bantam Langshan's.
While we let the eggs sit (they have to sit for 12 hours after posting) we completed the final touches on the new nesting box, that is to replace the one destroyed by the fox last year.
Lady Sussex let me slip all the eggs under her and she has been sitting on them ever since (it has been over one week now). Chickens have a 21 day incubation period so fingers crossed we have some baby chickies by the end of this month.
Luckily, the other chickens don't seem to be tempted to follow in the footsteps of Lady Sussex, they are content eating their seed and producing beautifully yellow-yolked eggs.