A Broody Hen Experiment

It’s spring time here in New England, love (and pollen) are in the air and I’ve got a chicken with an extreme case of “Mommy-itis”…and this isn’t the first time either.

 In farming terms, she’s gone broody.  She is sitting on a nest, convinced that she will hatch chicks, and is not getting up for anyone or anything.  Our mama is angry brooder.  She’ll peck, squawk, and otherwise attack if people (or other hens) get close.  They other ladies are giving her lots of space despite the fact that she is sitting on their favorite nest.  They’ve taken to laying under the pallets in the wood shed which is at least easy to find and well protected.  

Fortunately, I’ve got some pretty awesome friends.  And one of those awesome friends just so happened to have a whole bunch of fertilized eggs in need of a mama hen.  Not just any old eggs mind you, Swedish Flower Hen and Faverolle eggs, two beautiful rare / threatened species.  So not only are we making a chicken happy but we are doing our part to keep rare breeds growing.  

Yesterday was considered “Day 1” of the great experiment.  She’ll need to sit on the eggs for around 21 days before they hatch and we see how things have gone and just how good her mothering skills are.  

I’ll keep you posted and take lots of pictures, I promise.  Has anyone ever had a hen raise chicks?

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3 thoughts on “A Broody Hen Experiment

  1. Last year I had a hen go broody. We gave her a space of her own so that the other hens could continue to lay and she did an amazing /faithful job with her eggs. All but two hatched and when I cracked those two I found that they were not fertile. She raised her 10 chicks and taught them what they needed to know, protected them from the others, kept them warm and introduced them to the flock. When she decided they were old enough she ignored them completely and now acts like she has no special connection to them. it was a great/fun experience to have a mamma hen raise her babies and sooooo much easier than when we did it ourselves.
    Patrica @ dogwoodlanerambles.blogspot.com

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  2. Our experience has been very variable. Too many of the broodies hop off the nest before the eggs hatch. Sometimes they jump down for a feed and hop into another (empty nest) and I find the eggs have gone cold. Sometimes they just change their mind half way through. I've only had one hen raise four chicks so I use an incubator now.

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