Fat Black's first egg hatched today. Unfortunately, it was not due until Wednesday, and I think she "helped" it a bit--it was stillborn. When I found it under her, it was completely open at the top and only stuck to the bottom of the shell, I was excited for about a minute, until I realized it was dead. The umbilicus was still out of it's belly and all the yolk had not been absorbed. Black was pecking at it. It was obvious that she had been pulling the shell off to eat it (the shell, not the chick. Although, she could be trying to eat the chick, too, I dunno). Poor little chick.
I am praying that this is not a pattern with her, and that we get a safe delivery on the other six. It may be that the baby pipped, and then Black said "Yum, egg!", and helped herself. She's now earned the privilege of me watching her like a hawk until all the babies are born, which should be between Wednesday and Friday. Congrats, Fat Black. If she does try this again, I will relegate Black to the "not allowed to brood chicks" list, and take her babies away to hatch them out under a lamp. I'm going to research that now.
What a misfortune that the first birth we've had here should be such a sad start. I TRULY hope that this will not be the pattern for us here at Chicken Scratch. I don't think I can take that many failures.
Cross your fingers for us!