Our new arrivals … very cute but needing some names

There has been great excitement in our house this week!


We had been keeping a close eye on our broody hen and the clutch of eggs she had under her. Usually when a hen goes broody we let them off to do what they do naturally. A broody hen will build up a clutch of up to a dozen eggs or more before sitting on them for about 21 days until they hatch. This hen had nine eggs under her and we were expecting things to start happening last Tuesday.

Did you know… the term to feather ones nest comes from a broody hen plucking it’s own chest feathers to allow skin to egg contact which is necessary for the correct temperature incubation of the eggs?

We kept checking on her over the weekend and on Monday my husband spotted the first chick had arrived, but was dead when we saw it. We were quite concerned and upset about it but felt it was too late to move mama and eggs indoors for observation.

Tuesday morning and my husband reported another chick, alive this time and sticking it’s head out from under mama’s wing. An hour later and unfortunately things were not good, this chick was dead and another with it. I had read that sometimes a hen will kill the chicks once they hatch and although I didn’t know of anyone who had ever experienced it, it was a possibility here and time to take action.

Our "hatchery"
Our “hatchery”


We don’t own an incubator but managed to borrow a UV light from a friend. We moved all remaining (six) eggs from under mama hen and placed them indoors in a box under the warmth of the light.

Suddenly our home turned into a chick maternity ward… we could hear chirping from three of the eggs and knew that these ones at least were ready to hatch. As we are such a nerdy household we happened to have a little digital monitor that can tell temperature and humidity… we put it to good use in the new hatchery… and I spent the day moving the UV light up and down to control the temperature and spraying a fine mist of water over the eggs to maintain the humidity.


When using an incubator the temperature must be kept between 36 to 39oC and the humidity between 50 to 60%.



The hatching process seemed never ending…. one chick broke a little hole through the egg and then did very little else for the day. Another managed to chip away until he had made a break around the entire top of the shell and then he stopped too.

Eventually, with all the family watching, this chick made its debut. It was very exciting for all of us to watch.

The arrival of the first chick
The arrival of the first chick



The activity seemed to rally the second chick because within an hour it had arrived too… about half the size of it’s sibling but still perfect in every way. At 4.30 am the third chick made its appearance. I know this because I got up frequently during the night to check that they were all okay!! At this stage hubby had left for a business trip and I was solo on maternity duty!

I felt if they could make it through the night they had a good chance.

Next morning the children were delighted to see that there was now three little chick alive and well and oh so cute!


The Trio
The Trio



So let me introduce you to the three youngest member of our “family”….







First to hatch was this little one…

First one to arrive
First one to arrive


Next came this tiny little one, small but perfect….

The second to hatch and the smallest
The second to hatch and the smallest


And finally, this little blondie….

Number three: lighter in colour but not in temperament
Number three: lighter in colour but not in temperament

The chicks are now four days old and growing by the minute! Their real feathers are already starting to appear… growing up fast! As you can see from some of the photos they have feathery feet. This is a feature of the pekin hen. They father is a Pekin, their mother a cross between a Pekin and a Hamberg (both are bantam breed).


Our only problem now is that we still have not decided names for each of them, so we were hoping you could help? We would love some suggestions so if you have any ideas please let us know in the comments below. The children will pick their favourite names in a few days and we will let you know which ones we picked!



Science blogger and writer; Owner of Dr. How's Science Wows; Mother of three junior scientists who have taught me that to be a great scientist you need to look at life through the eyes of a child!

17 thoughts on “Our new arrivals … very cute but needing some names

    • June 10, 2014 at 5:36 pm

      We are really hoping they are all girls anyway Sadhbh 😉 We have quite a list now, great fun!

  • June 8, 2014 at 7:39 pm

    Aw lovely!I’m afraid I’m too tired to think up names for them but looks like you’ve got some great suggestions!

    • June 8, 2014 at 8:03 pm

      Thanks Aedin the list is growing… its lots of fun 🙂

  • June 8, 2014 at 3:31 pm

    Ah they are so cute. We have 3 chickens (a small bantam, a bluebell and a Plymouth Rock) and a rooster. We actually need maybe 2 more chickens, but aren’t sure about hatching our own eggs. What do you do if you get roosters? I know they can be hard to pass on (and even harder to get rid of if you know what I mean).
    I know my kids would be enthralled with the entire process but I do worry about what we’d do if we got roosters. Husband is a vet and he says they ‘re very difficult to sex.
    I have some suggestions for names from Dylan and Eva — Poppy, Sam and er… Chickling lol!

    • June 8, 2014 at 3:39 pm

      Yes there is that problem Olivia… best to have only one rooster in the group, two at most if it is a large enough group. They are very hard to pass on, easier if they are a pure breed though. You have to consider whether you are willing to do some culling once the chicks grow. You can get some breeds that are easy to sex after hatching.

      • June 8, 2014 at 4:19 pm

        I would find it very hard to get of any rooster chicks, but at least my husband could do it in a humane way. Mmm…I’m still not sure. Our neighbours sell chickens so it may be easier to pay them a little visit! 🙂

        • June 8, 2014 at 6:00 pm

          That sounds like a better plan Olivia 😉

  • June 8, 2014 at 3:16 pm

    I like the Bang Theory suggestion! Recently anything I have named began with the letter D and was always a boy name. So I am putting forward, Donald, Dermot and Declan. I have a sister who always had an animal of some sort in her company (a goat, 2 rams, rabbits, gerbils, millions of dogs, gazillions of cats, ducks, hens (one called Betty) and ponies) and all of her animals had human names.

    • June 8, 2014 at 3:36 pm

      Thanks Wonderful Wagon, sounds like your sister’s is a great place to visit 🙂

  • June 8, 2014 at 1:15 pm

    I second Ron, Harry and Hermione or if all girls Hermione, Ginny and Luna 🙂

  • June 8, 2014 at 1:13 pm

    Ella had suggested Tootsie and fluffy, Abigail says Jack and Zane 🙂 how very cool to see them hatching 🙂

    • June 8, 2014 at 1:29 pm

      I love the suggestions from Children, these are great… you should hear some of what my own crew have put forward this week.

  • June 8, 2014 at 12:27 pm

    How cute are they!
    Given your nerdy status and being a scientist I was thinking characters from Big Bang theory – Sheldon, Leonard and if a girl Penny etc.

    • June 8, 2014 at 12:30 pm

      Ooh what a clever idea Lucy, thanks… they are definitely going on the list. Loving all these ideas, we have been lacking in inspiration this week!

  • June 8, 2014 at 12:17 pm

    They’re gorgeous!! So fluffy!
    Musically influenced names: Freddie (Queen) Ringo (Beatles) Lucy (favourite Beatles song) Delilah (Freddie mercurys cat!)
    Bert and Ernie
    Ron, Harry and hermoine (guess what in watching today)
    Camilla-gonzos favourite chicken in the muppets is camilla!!

    • June 8, 2014 at 12:21 pm

      Great list Helen, my favourites are Ron, Harry and Hermione… very clever. I will put your suggestions to the panel. Thanks so much

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