I have a broody hen in the chicken house.
Every year it’s the same story.
Spring arrives and her maternal clock begins to tick. She becomes a little more ornery and starts hoarding all the eggs. She puffs herself up, filling the favorite nesting box, and screeches at the other hens who are trying to get into the box to lay their eggs.
And I debate…
Do I let her try it again this year? Will she stay on the eggs the entire 21 days? If she successfully hatches these eggs, where will I put her and the chicks?
I relented and she’s sitting. She’s been sitting for almost 21 days.
It used to be that it was very common to have hens that wanted to sit for 21 days and raise chicks. There’s been so much genetic altering that it’s rare to find broody hens these days. Our society has demanded a more efficient hen and a hen who’s out of commission for almost a month is not efficient.
It’s fascinating to watch our hen. The patience to sit for that long in a 1’ x 1’ space, not caring about food and water but totally focused on keeping those eggs warm at an even 90º is amazing to me. We do hand feed and water her. It really begins to take a toll on them physically – their comb becomes pale and droopy, a sure sign that they’re not getting what they need.
Probably the biggest nuisance is the fact that other hens do squeeze in with her to lay their eggs.
And my broody hen gladly accepts the new eggs, tucking them under her feathers to incubate.
So, now I have a lot of eggs, all at different stages of maturation. I have no idea how many were original eggs and have been under her for 21 days. Guess we’ll see.
Today, May 31, is day 21. We’re excited to see if any hatch. The new pen is ready where we’ll move mom and chicks. I’m curious to know – if we move out the new chicks, will she keep sitting until some of the others hatch? Would she go to day 25 or so?
Ahh, homesteading…curious minds want to know!
To follow the daily report on our broody hen, link to our Lazy B Farm page on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Statham-GA/Lazy-B-Farm/53765456482?sid=05f1e80ff846bd0c85ebdd0661a32557&ref=s
This happened several years ago here at the farm. Hopefully we’ll see this sight again today 🙂