Yes, that's right, that's the second hen that been on the second nest. This is Knit, (she's got a sister that is just slightly larger than her named Purl. :-) ) She's a Black Australorp who's been through hell, or at least it might seem that way to her. Poor thing, seriously was out just minding her own p's a q's one fall afternoon and was attacked by a neighbors dog and nearly died. Took off half of her tail feathers, a chunk of wing and some of her backside. I thought we were going to lose her, but I took care of her and treated her wounds, ( I have experience in this department, a neighbors dog got after one on my chickens as a child as well. Didn't lose him either, not for a long time.) and she made an astounding recovery. Once she was better she found herself fancied by our rooster, a lot! She was of of the first ones to lose most of the feathers off her backside and her head and neck where he grabbed her to hang on. Because of the lack of feathers on her back was sunburned, lets not even go there..... Then she molted! Oh what a sight! Now picture this; one black feathered, sunburned bright red backed, half tailed, balding headed hen who then lost most of the rest of her feathers, like all three that were left! Her feathers have come back in quite nicely I think, even her tail feathers! I was not sure she'd ever get those back as it was quite a chunk from her tail but she did. This girl's tough!
Ordinarily I wouldn't go on so much about feathers, but it'll help the next part of the story. We've been checking in Queen (the hen that about ready to hatch out chicks) and seeing the other nest empty but eggs warm-ish. So we knew that somebody was sitting on them at least part of the time. Figuring that it was Rose; the hen that had been alternating with Queen for a while until the had her own eggs to hatch, (I guess she's as impatient as I am as she seems to have given up, more of an instant gratification type of girl.) until last night. We went out to do barn chores and saw the eggs were surrounded with thin black feathers and really warm. I knew Purl had no broodiness to her at all so I picked Knit up and checked if it was her who'd been feathering the nest, it was! I'm thinking hasn't this poor hen lost enough feathers? now she's pulling them out to line a nest that may not even hatch? Or maybe since she's spent most of her life without most of her feathers she doesn't know what to do with all of them! I'm kidding. You've heard the expression feathering the nest, well let me tell you she's done a great job of it. Hens will sometimes pull out their belly feathers when they are sitting on a clutch, it has to do with the heat and humidity required for incubation.
So that where we stand, days away from the first hatching and if everything goes well with the second clutch of eggs and they didn't get too chilled the other day when we had a cold snap we might have a second hatch in the beginning of May. Right around the time the broilers and replacement layers arrive! At least it's not boring around here. Oh, and in case you're keeping track, out of the 9 hens we have left one has been and remained broody, one is broody in an a.d.d. sort of way and one had secretly been broody but sees that you get hand fed thinks it might be ok to stay on the nest. Faith hand feeding her hen, waiting patiently to become a grammie!