We were keen to add to our chook flock (currently two) and had a determined-to-be-broody hen. However, council rules say we can't keep a rooster, so no matter how long she sat on her eggs, it wasn't going to result in chicks. Jan and Jaime at Widget Grove very kindly offered us some fertilized eggs to put under her. We started with four eggs, but it was thought only one had any chance of hatching, as the others had been left to get cold by another hen. Our chook 'Candy' dutifully sat on them and we waited.
A week later, two eggs remained after Candy broke two, but both those had seemed (smelt!) rotten any way. Then on Sunday night I noticed a crack in one, and could hear tapping from inside the shell.
The next morning we had a chick and to our surprise and delight the following morning another hatched from the remaining egg!
Candy is doing an excellent job as a first-time mum, oblivious to the fact that she's a surrogate. She's teaching them to scratch and calls them over when she finds things for them to eat. We're temporarily referring to the chicks as 'Monday' and 'Tuesday' (not very creative I know) but I have a feeling the names might stick.
With luck they'll make it through to adulthood and will be girls. As my friend Lou remarked, "don't count your chickens until they're not roosters". (Though of course given the odds, and the council's rules about roosters, we do have a plan for this eventuality).
Many thanks Jan and Jaime, and welcome to our place, chicks!