I have seven new eggs in the incubator. They should hatch the week of the 21st.
And, I'm also experimenting with the natural method of chickbirth. Meagan's boss (the one who told us about teaching the chicks to eat) told her that the way to get hens to start brooding is to just leave the eggs in the nest. When they get a "clutch", they'll start sitting on them.
I'm not certain how many eggs a hen considers to be a clutch or if chickens can count or if they just look at them and think, "um, that's about enough". But, in my mind about a dozen sounds about right. So, I took all of the eggs from two days, which happened to be twelve and put them in one of the chicken's favorite nesting boxes. I didn't do it all at once...just added them one by one as I found them.
It has been three days and so far, we have seen no evidence of brooding. All the hens seem to be doing is adding to the nest. There were 14 eggs in the nest today. I took out one that was just sitting on top of the others because I felt pretty confident that it had just been laid, but I couldn't remove the thirteenth egg because I'm not sure if any of them have started to develop or not.
Tom suggested that I mark them so I'll know which ones are new and Meagan suggested I mark them so that I'll know if a hen is turning them. So, I guess tomorrow morning, before a hen can get in there and lay another egg, I'll mark them with a pencil.