Friday, August 12, 2011

Hats Off to My Broody Hen: a Two Hatch Wonder.

What went wrong with this hatch?
Pictures of hatched day old chicks.

With her chicks full grown and a casual climb up the social lattice after March’s hatch, this year’s broody hen has decided to have another go at motherhood.

A couple days ago Little Black Hen decided it was time to warm her feathers, bunker down and hatch me another batch of tweeters. After breakfast I was checking for eggs and she came running into the coop, straight up to a perch and stared into the nest box. She cackled, “Please, I thought I laid enough”, as she jumped into her nest and settled down (with no eggs). So I hand fed her some grain to show her no hard feelings and get her ready for some routine.

Even though I have been collecting eggs multiple times a day because of an egg eating outbreak she chose to sit on a nest for two nights and then yesterday all day without any eggs. This gave me just enough time to gather seven clean eggs. Unsure of whether she was serious I was anxious to see if she would be on her nest this morning. She somewhat disappointed me by charging out of the coop with the flock for breakfast. However, as soon as feeding was over she drank enough water to bloat her crop, proceeded to take the giant broody hen poop and then preened each one of her feathers, right down to her legs.  So I placed the seven marked eggs in her chosen nest and waited and waited for her to finish cleaning and find them.

When she came into the coop she jumped to the nest boxes and got a sharp peck on the head from a laying barred hen. Little Black Hen paused… frozen, eyes glazed over, standing just below her nest for five long minutes. “Do I really want to spend 21 days and nights sitting on hard lumps of calcium?” So I patiently watched for her decision. She took a peak into her box and a leap of faith into her nest for a nice end to August.

I hope these 21 days aren’t brutally hot and that raising chicks in September won’t be nippy. But for a hen that hatched chicks in March and raised them during freak snow storms, I give her love and all my luck (as little as that may be). Fingers crossed for all seven this time!

Little Black Hen's prior hatch:
First Hatch of 2011
2011 First Hatch Update

Hatching Chicks with Broody Hens 

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