Four days ago,
the Black Orpington hen
was sitting in the chicken nest
and when I approached to take an egg
laying beside her,
she clucked at me.
I had an inkling she might be sitting.
The next day, the Leghorn hen
was sitting beside her.
I thought that odd;
never seen them in the same nest before
at the same time.
Yesterday, they had changed places,
but we knew:
they’re both sitting on eggs;
they didn’t get up all day.
We’re thrilled to see nature
taking its course
after we’d heard that nesting
had been bred out of modern day hens.
Every morning, we give them
our best wishes
and a little pep talk.
We don’t know how many eggs they are hatching—
or if they need a pep talk,
but we would.

We also give an “atta girl”
to the guinea hen sitting
on a clutch
of 20 eggs
out in the tall grass in the corral.
This is her fourteenth day;
she’s halfway there.

Five Keets

And now there are five guinea keets,
including a gray one,
that were hatched in the incubator.
Ann, Susan and Erica had to help them.
The shells are so hard that the keets crack them a little,
then can’t crack them any further
before the air dries the membrane a little
and it sticks to them;
then they’re trapped.
So they helped three out;
it was too late for a couple of others.
Those had cracked the eggs on the bottom
and Ann couldn’t see that they’d been trying to get out.
Unlike butterflies building muscles
as they free themselves from the cocoon,
guineas sometimes need help getting out of the shells.
And thereafter.