Thursday, March 5, 2009

Our First Broody Hen

I've said this before and I'll say it again. I'm sorry if you don't like chickens. Or don't like seeing pictures of chickens. Or hearing chicken stories. I really am. Feel free to surf the web elsewhere if this isn't your cup of tea. It just happens to be my cup of tea.

I mentioned the other day that we have a broody hen. For those of you who are learning, a broody hen is one who is inclined to sit on eggs, hatch them and then care for the chicks once they hatch.

Our broody girl sat on a nest of a dozen eggs for 5 or 6 days. Then, she got off. It's not unusual for a broody hen to get off the nest to drink, eat and poop. But, then she gets back on again. Our girl did get back on again, but it's possible she was off for more than several hours in this very cold weather. We feared that being new to setting, she didn't realize that you really can't leave the eggs for too long in these temperatures.

So, what to do? We had talked about moving her to her own secluded place (with her nest) as often other hens, who like to lay their eggs in that particular nest, may shove her off to lay. We just weren't sure how or when to do it.

Thanks to a very knowledgeable commenter (thanks, MAC), we were directed to this website. This woman knows her chickens... her broody chickens, to be exact. After reading what she had to offer, we decided to move our girl but there was still the question of the viability of her eggs. So, Jamey collected the fresh eggs from the other nesting boxes and set them up in a brooding box for our hen.

Then, well after dark, Jamey took the hen off her questionable clutch of eggs and moved her to her own private suite with the fresh eggs. Do you remember this little pen in Jamey's workshop?

It's where we keep our peeps when we first get them. Well, Jamey renovated it for our momma with a box to hold the eggs and her, food, water and plenty of room for her to stretch and poop. If she's a good momma, she won't poop on her clutch. I ventured out the next morning to check on her.

There she sat, still, focused and dutifully, on her clutch of eggs. She is in the zone. (Oh, this is reminding me so much of labor-okay, it's a bit of a stretch. But, I, too, get "in the zone". Until transition, that is. Then I freak out a little.)

If this clutch will hatch, it will take 20-21 days. She started setting on these on March 3rd. This puts her due date at March 23rd or 24th.

Are you as excited? Now, I know a lot can happen in the next 20 days or so. She's a new broody hen and therefore, she may change her mind. At day 10, we are going to candle the eggs to see which ones (if any) have growing chicks inside. So, as Sadie says, "Wait and see."

As of yesterday, I think we've settled on a name for her. (The only chicken we've named so far is Marv, the rooster.) While we were discussing the topic, Jamey reminded me of my great Uncle Marv and Aunt Emma. So, Emma it is. Pin It


  1. Wow, she settled that quickly to the new spot? You've got a good one. Good wishes to Emma for a healthy clutch... -MAC

  2. I happen to LOVE chickens and chicken pictures and chicken stories and chickens in general! How exciting! I hope she does well...she looks pretty determined sitting on her cozy nest! What a good mama...

  3. Kind of makes you wish that your whole pregancy was only 20 days....chickens are lucky that way!


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