After two-plus weeks sitting on the nest, mama hen decided enough was enough! Maybe she got chucked out by the other chickens one too many times, or maybe she decided the eggs were duds, or... who knows. But she gave up on that nest.
And... moved to the one next door! I guess she wanted a do-over.
Unfortunately, she got a bit excited about the whole do-over business and decided to start over AGAIN four days after that. We're a bit fed up with her wrecking all the eggs. Jeremy has taken to putting on thick leather gloves when he collects eggs at night and taking away whatever eggs she is sitting on.
We might be able to solve this soon though. I've been working on a project to add a mini-coop (tee hee!) to our ever-expanding farm outbuildings. We bought a good sturdy dog house off craigslist and have put it in place next to the main coop. I'm working on extending the run in that area to incorporate a little more space for the chickens and the mini-coop.
The idea is that we put broody hens in the mini-coop to do their business. That way they don't get kicked off their nest repeatedly by our bully Rhode Island Reds, and once the chicks hatch they can stay safe with mama for a few days until they are big enough to venture out. That issue was a bit tricky for us last time so this should solve it. It's an experiment - as everything here tends to be.
The other idea is that if we have a sick or injured chicken, it can be in isolation and recuperation in the mini-coop - instead of in a giant dog kennel in the middle of our living room, stinking the place up. So I'm looking forward to finishing this project.
I'll post some pictures when things are looking better.