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  • stacy

Momma Wanna-be

Well it’s official, we have our first broody hen. For those uninitiated in the ways of all things chicken, a broody hen is one that has an overwhelming motherly desire to sit on and incubate her eggs, with the obvious goal of hatching them and mothering a brood of baby chicks. Our little Millie, the partridge silky bantam, and one of our two fancy backyard chickens, has been sitting in the nest box almost continuously for the last week and a half. It all started when we went to the coast for a couple of days last week. When we returned, there were 5 eggs in the nest box that had been laid by Coco Puff and Millie, and there was Millie all fluffed up and sitting on all of them. A broody hen will sit in the nest box all day, every day, only leaving the nest for 5 or 10 minutes to eat, drink, and poop, and then go right back to the nest. When disturbed in the nest, a broody hen will make a terrible screech and puff her feathers out to make herself look big and let any intruders know they should BACK OFF!  It’s quite cute really, and I have to say that Millie is not too intimidating even when she puffs her little self up to maximum size. I have been taking her out of the nest box one or twice a day to encourage her to eat since she’s so small as it is. A broody hen can lose weight if they keep at it too long, especially if she is sitting on unfertilized eggs with no hope of hatching out any chicks! We only have one nest box in their coop, so Coco Puff will go into the nest box with Millie already in it to lay her egg. Coco Puff will leave the nest box after she’s laid her egg, and then Millie will promptly roll Coco Puff’s egg under her to set on it. Although it would be fun we’ve decided not to let Millie hatch out any chicks right now. Her breed is said to make excellent foster mothers, so we could easily slip a few fertile eggs from the farm under her to hatch. We do want to hatch out some chicks from our flock soon, but the timing is not quite right since it’s really better to hatch out chicks in the spring, not as we’re headed into colder weather. It’s good to know that we have a willing momma hen though, and we may just take her up on it the next time!



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