Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Which Came First: The Chicken or the Egg?

{I had this post ready to go live back in July well before I decided to stop posting on SparingChange.  So, now that I’ve come back from my 2 ½ month hiatus, this is what we chose to do with a broody hen. }

I wrote a couple of weeks ago about our broody hen, Latte.  She refused to come out of her nesting box and we were torn as to what to do.  Our options:

  1. Buy fertilized eggs for her to lay on
  2. Lock her out of the coop until she is done being broody
  3. Buy pullets (female chicks) so that our egg production does not go down while we have a broody hen in the future
I found a micro-farm about an hour away from where I work and the lady I spoke with was a wealth of information.  I emailed her a week later about our decision to get pullets; however, she didn’t have any that were sexed to ensure we were getting female hens instead of roosters.  We were able to purchase chicks but there was no guarantee how many males or females there would be. 

After staying up late one evening weighing the pros and cons of each option, I decided that the fertilized eggs were the best route for us!  In my mind, it was the most natural (and frugal) way for Latte to put an end to her broodiness.  She is getting what she wants: to lie on eggs for 21 days and patiently await the baby chicks!  This decision cracks me up a bit because we originally wanted nothing to do with the fertilized eggs due to the fact that we would have roosters.  However, after thinking about it, I decided that if the roosters were a problem, we could have them butchered and eat fresh chicken throughout the year. 
I made the drive after work to pick up the dozen fertile eggs on Monday, June 25th.  Again, the owner of the micro-farm was nothing less than a pleasure to deal with and extremely accomodating. She gave us some extra fertilized eggs with our order.  When I got to her house to pick up the eggs, she gave us a shipment that a woman ordered but never paid for!  So, instead of getting a dozen fertilized eggs for $20, we got 30 eggs for $20!!!  It was like Christmas day for me on the 25th of June!

On the drive home, I began to fret about how we would house these chicks that would be hatching in 21 days.  We have a double-decker chicken coop where the nesting boxes are on the 2nd floor.  I was worried that when the chicks hatch that they might fall and hurt themselves.  My wonderful husband agreed to make a nesting box on the first floor of the coop for our nesting hen and the fertilized eggs.  The cost to us: Free.  We had all supplies on hand.


A pro to having the fertilized eggs is that we can keep a rooster (assuming we get at least one rooster out of the fertilized eggs) for ourselves to fertilize more eggs in the future; thus providing more adorable chicks!  In turn, we can pretty much “grow our own food.”  When I think back to what Todd and I are striving for in our lives, this simple step of purchasing fertilized eggs go hand-in-hand with our ultimate goal.  We want to grow our own food, and now, we have the ability to do just that!

So, the learning begins all over again with the new addition of our eggs.


And if you want to see what Latte did as soon as we put a portion of the eggs in her nesting box, you can witness for yourself the natural beauty of a hen protecting “her” eggs in this video. (Please excuse my husband's belch.  He didnt realize I was taping.)


We are expecting the chicks to hatch between July 14th and the 18th, and I cannot wait!

So as it turns out, I still cannot answer the question about what came first: the chicken or the egg. But I’m OK with that.

I would like to make mention of my husband through all of this.  This is the man who never wanted anything to do with chickens in the past.  Now, he is the man who said it was OK for me to bring home fertilized eggs and he was even willing to build me a nesting box on a whim to house 15 eggs and a broody hen.  Now, he is building several more nesting boxes to install into the coop to accommodate the chicks that end up hatching: whether that be 6 or 30!  Really, what man would put up with these crazy antics of mine?  I am truly blessed!


  1. That video was so cool when she used her beak to pull the eggs in! I wish I knew more about how to take care of chickens.

    1. Antonio, we are on the same wavelength. I have started to write a Q&A post for the future on how to raise hens, and then go into how to raise and breed chickens! I thought it was awesome what Latte did as well...which is why I had to take a video of it. :-)