Still waiting on the baby, so here are some more chick photos! Rita wound up hatching two chicks — she started with eight eggs, and one broke early on, so really only seven. The first was born Monday afternoon/evening and the second came along on Tuesday. On Wednesday, she moved her nest into the corner and left two eggs in the middle of the coop (they were cold when I found them, and one was sloshy — definitely no good). Yesterday morning, I took the other three eggs out from under Rita, and I was surprised to find that they were also cold (and all sloshy). Makes it seem all the more amazing that two healthy chicks managed to hatch, with so many duds!
Two is actually exactly as many as I was hoping for — we don’t actually NEED any more chickens until the hens slow down egg production in a year or two. I just hope they’re not both roosters! They’re very curious and friendly, and both they and Rita have let me pick them up to show M, who is smitten. It’s quite a different experience having a hen raising chicks vs. hand-raising them indoors. Don’t have to worry about keeping them warm — Rita does that! She’s doing her job well, so far. I put some scratch grains out in the run (she and the chicks are living in the coop; the other chickens are all living in the barn at night), and she was very happy to stretch her legs and dig in the dirt. The chicks just stayed in the little pop door area, quiet and content, but not adventurous enough to join her outside yet. When I check a minute later, Rita was back inside with them, back to work.