The Word-Nerd’s Homestead-2022, #4 – Momma Hens, Roo Culling & Bebe Ducks

Hello Hello, Happy Readers!

I’m still playing catch-up on all my Homestead tasks, including posting things about it here. In this installment, I’m going to show off the Momma Hen who decided to set for me, give a run-down of my first meat harvest, and also show off the newly hatched ducklings.

It’s feathers all the way down! Let’s get to it!

First up, meet Momma Hen (the chicken formerly known as Goofy Chicken).

She decided to start setting about a week before I put the Blue Laced Red Wyandotte eggs (see last post) in the incubator. It got down really cold several times while she was on these, but she kept them going. All the other hens just had to lay in the same nest, even as she was starting to go broody, so she ended up sitting on 21 eggs!

They were a mix of French Wheaton Maran & Buff Orpington crosses.

When the day eventually arrived, and the 1st chick emerged, I moved her into the little brooder on the side of the house to protect them from the big chickens and to give a bit more room.

Over the course of 4 days, she hatched out 10 of the 21 eggs. The rest were simply not viable. I cracked them open to check and there were no chicks in them. I was surprised because all the roosters were quite busy. Maybe they just kept interrupting each other too much?

It quickly became apparent that the space was not big enough for the group. Momma liked to scratch in the nesting hay, which occasionally resulted in a yeeted baby bird. I lost one of them when it got stuck upside down in the door frame where Momma Hen could not get to it and get it out.

So, I postponed several other things last weekend and added a new project to the itinerary.

I cleaned out the grow-out box and divided it in half.

Then I put up an atrium to get into it. The other side is now home to the roosters (and one very mean hen) who I spared from the axe the day before. But we’ll get to that in minute.

Momma Bird & Babies now have a 4×4 area with lots of fresh hay to hang out in. Much more comfortable, and I have the brooder light in there to help on the cold days that keep hitting at random.

Now, on to the next topic… if you are squeamish about the meat harvesting part of farming, stop reading now. Although, I would ask what you are doing looking at a homesteading page if you are. Anyway, you have been warned…

I had a total of 15 young roosters that were starting to get very randy. My hens, 12 of them, were getting entirely too much amorous attention, so something had to give.


With the help of my sister who was up for a visit, I spent about 2-1/2 hours dispatching and skinning out 7 of them. I decided that they were not quite filled out as much as I wanted at only 22 weeks, so I spared eight of them and threw them into the grow-out pen for another month.

The day will come though, so it is only a temporary reprieve.

Anyway, I’m not sharing anything graphic, but here’s the end result.

7 Roosters brought around 12 lbs. Yes, I wasted some meat, but I save some time by skinning instead of plucking and cleaning. I didn’t want the innards like livers, gizzards & hearts, so it was not a huge loss versus how much effort it would have taken.

And then, there’s Part 3 of this missive… BABY DUCKS!

I started my incubator out with 28 Blue Laced Red Wyandotte eggs & 13 Welsh Harlequin.

It takes 26 days for chickens, so they hatched last week (see last post). And the ducks came a week later.

I had 1 fail to develop fully, 1 died in the shell, and one hatched but didn’t make it past a day. 3 of them were very slow to start pipping and did not seem like they would even hatch at all. I could see them moving in the eggs, and hear them peeping, but they just could not get it together. So, I helped them out after two days of waiting. I chipped the shell on one and it pushed on out. The other two I literally had to take out of the egg to get them going. It’s usually not good to do that, and you can easily cause a bleed, but they would have died in the shell otherwise, so I was willing to chance it. As of now, they are alive and running around, so I hope they make it.

Here’s a picture of the first 4.

And then we were up to 7 on day 2.

These little ones are just in time for Easter, and I would love to sell them to pay for feed for all the others. If you are in the Northwest Georgia area, you can email me at jedseggs @ protonmail dot com if you would be interested in buy them.

I’m in the process now of trying to find ways to advertise & sell my hatchlings and even some eggs.

I have put another batch of Blue Swedish, Welsh Harlequin & even some Lavender Guineas into the incubator. All should hatch in a month!

Also, I have a friend who is going to give me some Pilgrim Goose Eggs to hatch out! I may have to swap out some duck eggs to make room. At this point, I think I need a 2nd Incubator!

Anyway, that’s the majority of the Homestead happenings over the last month. I’ll be working on some seedlings and gardening very soon. I also bough myself a chainsaw milling frame to make wooden slabs out of logs.

Lots of plans. Lot of preparations to make. I hope your own are moving forward as well, because the shortages are apparently coming. Get ready & be prepared!

Happy Reading, Prepping & Homesteading!

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