It seems that a hen can lay fertile eggs without a rooster daily mounting her. When I read this, I decided to investigate. After googling the information, there was no way to copy and past to my blog.
There are varying reports of how long a hen will lay fertile eggs after she and the rooster part ways. The length of time she can remain fertile depends on the breed according to the published information. Some breeds can lay fertile eggs for forty days.
My hen that is laying still has bare skin just in front of her tail where the rooster mounted her. A rooster and two hens were together! She is laying eggs that I suspect are fertile.
If I owned an incubator, I would try for chicks! If anyone near me has an incubator, I would be willing to give them the eggs to hatch.
Every night since I got them, I have had to go out in the dark and relocate them from sleeping right next to the chain link fence. Remember, that is how the raccoons got the babies and the full grown hens. These chicks and hens this summer are the only ones I have ever owned who had this strong desire to sleep next to the fence.
Last night, I could not catch Janis Joplin. So, at 3:30 am I went out for the second time and caught her and got her into the sleeping box. I had to replace the little one from the laying box to the sleeping box.
Tonight, I went out and found both sleeping in the laying box. Okay, I will settle for that. Maybe tomorrow, I will lower the boxes, hoping the little one can get to the higher box. She makes a mighty jump as it is. At sunset, I will tape a cloth over the lower box, the one for laying. Hopefully things will sort themselves out!
I know hens will develop a habit if a person keeps placing them in the right sleeping quarters. Have you built a new hen house and had to carry them all to their new home after dark? Or, have you helped them develop a habit you want?