Thursday, August 9, 2012

Broody Hens!

Broody hen in a nest box with a baby chick

We had been hoping for months on end for our hens to become broody so that we could hatch more chickens. In the last couple of months we have had success!

Baby chick among the eggs
We started finding chickens in the nest boxes that would not get up off of a clutch of eggs and rather than discouraging their broodiness we encouraged it and designated particular boxes for the broody hens. Once the chicks hatched we moved them into the brooder house.
Minerva Louise with baby chicks
Much to our delight Minerva Louise, one of our "yard chickens," went broody and not only hatched out 5 eggs but also adopted a number of other chicks from a different flock, kept them warm, and tended to them! It was always a delight to see the babies climbing all over Minerva Louise and peeking out from beneath her.

As Minerva Louise protected her brood she was not always so gentle with older chicks in the growing mixed flock in the brooder house. Once her babies were big enough we removed Minerva Louise and now she watches over the young chicks along the outside of the fenced run.
Minerva Louise longingly following the babies

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