It was early last week, just minutes after my children had headed to let the chickens out. They bursted through the front door, all talking a mile a minute, and for a split second I wasn’t sure if their news was about disaster or excitement.
I took a moment to assess – beaming. Their little faces were beaming! I did a quick breath of relief, and then tried with all my might to piece together what all the excitement was about. The news was certainly about Henny Penny, and about babies … but how could that be?
Well, as it turns out, the news was that sweet Henny Penny was trying to have babies.
For the past few mornings when the ladies have been let out, Henny Penny has run into the hedge. I really hadn’t thought twice about it – our ladies do odd things all the time. But on this morning, the kids followed her … and what did they find?
Six eggs to be exact. Given our chickens lay an egg a day, this means that for 6 days Henny Penny had been laying her eggs in a little nest in our hedge. The conclusion? Why she had gone broody!
A broody hen is one who is trying to collect and incubate her eggs, turning them into babies. Well I was quick to join in the excitement! More babies, hatched naturally … amazing.
I quickly came up with a plan. Friends of ours have had a very similar situation and I believe I know what will happen. Henny Penny will continue to lay an egg a day in her little nest, until she is happy with the number that she has. Then she will sit on them, day and night, for 21 days.
The trouble? Around these parts, chickens cannot sit outside day and night. At least the night part. We have a lot of wild animals around here that would all too happily have a chicken dinner.
The kids and I altered the a shelf in our chicken coop to become a private little area for our broody Mama, when she decides it is time to sit. We just added some wood chips and fenced it off with chicken wire. It is important that she has some space away from the others. We also added a container for the nest to go in, for a little bit of added privacy.
So now we are ready. And we wait.
With 10 eggs now in the nest (plus 2 from Ms. Judy we added in the hopes they will be hatched too), we do hope she decides to sit soon. That is a lot of little babies for one Mama to hatch!
The kids are beside themselves with excitement. Every morning we watch her run into the hedge, and wait with baited breath to see if she has decided to sit, or if she will re-emerge. And every morning out she walks with a little cluck and the kids do a collective, “ahhhh ….”.
I will keep you posted friends, and hope to get some videos for you to share with your little ones too. Nothing quite like watching that Mama instinct.
Thank you for reading!