I am SO excited. One of our hens has finally gone broody!
For all you non-chicken owning people… she’s sitting on an egg! You know, to hatch it!
See how fluffed up this hen is? That’s how we knew she’d gone broody when Jerry found her like this two days ago. He was collecting eggs from the boxes when he came upon this hen sitting in one. But instead of hopping out and running off, she stayed put and guarded her precious egg. Jerry, not knowing what she was so obviously upset about, simply reached under her and stole the egg away.
Later on that evening, he told me about the funny hen acting so crazy. I immediately realized what was going on. “Jerry!” I scolded, “She’s broody! She was gonna hatch that egg!”
“Oh.” He replied.
I’ve been waiting FOREVER for one of the hens to start sitting. I’d honestly given up on them. I really hoped she would bounce back and sit on another egg the next day. I’ve heard that you can break up a broody hen, so I was anxious to see what she’d do.
Before I ever owned chickens, I had no idea how it worked. I guess I just pictured a hen sitting on a clutch of eggs, and I kinda thought that they lay a bunch of eggs at once and then sit on them and they hatch. And I couldn’t figure out how you could collect the eggs to eat without cracking one to find a chick in there. I can’t help but laugh at my naivety now.
For those who are still in the dark about the chicken and the egg, here’s the rundown…
Hens typically lay one egg a day. And they don’t usually sit on them, they just lay them and then run off to forage. Unfortunately, the instinct to sit has been bred out of most breeds. So, it’s very exciting when you actually have a hen who is willing to sit on a clutch of eggs and hatch them herself!
Yesterday morning I could hardly contain myself when I went out to check on the chickens and found her back in her box, sitting on another egg. Woo-hoo!!
So, from what I understand, she may lay a few more eggs to sit on while she’s there. Hopefully she will. You can also put eggs from other chickens (or ducks or whatever) under her to hatch out. That’s just what I did tonight.
While all of the chickens were snuggled onto their roosts, and the hen in her box, I snuck into the chicken coop and stuck another egg under the broody one. Which was kinda scary, ’cause when I got close she fluffed herself up all big and growled at me. Growled! I just knew she was gonna reach back and peck a chunk of my hand off. Fortunately, she was all talk, and didn’t do anything when I lifted her back end up to place the egg underneath her warm body.
Mind you, this was an egg I’d collected earlier in the day which had not been refrigerated.
Now she has two eggs to sit on. Oh, I just can’t wait to see what happens! I keep thinking about going out there and finding baby chicks all around her. Starting from yesterday I countdown 21 days. And then, if all goes well, we should have some new babies here on the homestead!
I really hope this works out. Remember last year when we tried incubating some eggs for the first time? That was exciting and then heartbreaking for sure. It would be great not to have to worry about humidity levels and heat lamps and all that this time around.
But will the chicks be okay if we don’t put them under a heat lamp? I mean, they survive without human intervention in nature, right? Should we bring a lamp out to the coop after they are born, or will the mama keep them warm enough? And I hope they’ll be okay being up in the nesting box like that; I hope they don’t fall out! I’ll have to keep a very close check on them.
I guess we’ll have to give the mama and chicks a separate living area for a while. It will be interesting to see how it all plays out. I’m a little worried that the eggs aren’t even fertilized. I haven’t seen Dirty Wilson doing his thing in a while.
Well, as you can tell this is a new and exciting experience for us. I’m already full of questions!! I’ll definitely keep you up to date on how things work out!
Any advice for me on what to do once (*if*) we have baby chicks hatched out? I really don’t wanna mess this up!
A city girl learning to homestead on an acre of land in the country. Wife and homeschooling mother of four. Enjoying life, and everything that has to do with self sufficient living.