Posts Tagged ‘Broody’

Chick Adoption at the Crack of Dawn

Last night my two week old chicks came home for the first time and either in a stroke of brilliance or madness I decided to see if our broody Silkie would adopt the chicks. So here I am at the crack of dawn checking the early results of the adoption experiment. And? So far so good. The broody and her trio are still in the nesting box with her wings puffed out to protect them.  They only poked their heads out after I poked around our #1 Mommy.

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Because these are older chicks, I placed a small waterer and crumbles inside the box, which they all eagerly accepted. The other chickens are curious, but giving them space.  The idea of food in the nesting box prompted a few investigations, but I shoed the onlookers away and all is back to status quo.  The pictures are bit blurry, but then again, so am I at 5:00am.

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Will a Broody Hen Adopt Chicks? Yes!

We’ve had a broody Silkie since mid May. In The Broody Experiments, we tried our best to get her “unbroody,” but without success.  This chicken was broodily determined. Sigh and wait.

Then my chicks arrived today. They were incubated by a nice class of students at a local school. Disappointingly, we only had 3 out of 24 eggs hatch: 2 Salmon Faverolles and 1 Belgian Bearded D’Anvers. Sounds like a perfect size clutch for a broody bantam. Hmm. I conveniently happen to have an inconveniently broody bantam.

Now the question… will our broody hen adopt the chicks? Internet research showed mixed results. Fortunately, most of out conditions are right: The hen has been broody for over 21 days and she is very gentle and good-natured.

The plan: Towards dusk, I introduced them one at a time, approximately 45 minutes apart. I also included an egg shell with the first introduction that my child serendipitously broke while collecting this afternoon. Perhaps it is total nonsense, but I read that the shell helps.

The initial results: Did I say she was good natured? I poked around to take a few nosy pictures of the progress and she hissed and puffed up at me! Hurrah! That’s a first for her and great sign those mothering instincts are kicking into high gear. As of dusk tonight, the chicks seem to be doing fine under #1 adopted mum.

The next steps: Over the next few days, I’ll be watching our new family like that @#*$! red-tailed hawk circling my house. Because these are waaay over day-old (nearly two weeks!), I’m going to have to make sure they are getting enough food and water since they don’t have that yolk sac insurance.

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The Broody Experiments

Silkie is broody. The previous evidence of constant sitting and lack of eggs pointed towards this, seconded by readers’ comments (thanks!), and yesterday’s experiment confirmed it for me. If she were sick, she would be too ill to get around, right? So I locked all the chickens out of the coop and run for the afternoon. Mean mommy, but everyone else finished laying and I made sure there was water and food. And what happened? Silkie free-ranged with the others for a few minutes and the proceeded to pace the door, trying to get back to the nesting boxes. Pace, pace, pace. She must have really wanted to get back to those phantom eggs. At least it got her up and moving and off the nest just as a wire-bottom cage would, except that I have free-range and no wire-bottom cage.

This weekend’s chicken treatment is to continue intensive free-range therapy. Will the experiment yield the desired result?  Hypothesis:  Hopefully.

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Broody or Sicky?

For the past week, this is the scene confronting me each visit to the coop: Silkie sitting.

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Yes, I know that Silkies are notorious setters, so we had a few chuckles about Silkie and I simultaneously deciding it was time to brood our respective eggs. However, as the week has progressed, I’m getting concerned because other than sitting burning hot, she’s not showing other typical brooding behavior. For example,she’s not  at all miffed when I retrieve eggs from under her and unceremoniously remove her from the nesting box several times a day. Not even a hiss or peck or indignant fluffing of feathers in my general direction! Docile as a doll. When placed on the cool ground, she just sits there dazedly for a few minutes before wandering off.

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Sometimes I can get her to eat and drink. Other times, it’s just back to the coop. She’s not visibily missing any feathers and I’ve done a thorough search of the area for plucked feathers just in case. She also feels like she’s a healthy weight and I can’t detect any signs of an egg bound hen.

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What’s your guess: Is she broody or sick? Let’s hope for broody because she’s the best-natured broody hen I’ve ever encountered!

The Birds and the Bees and the Chickens

Dear Chickens,

Girls, I should say Ladies, it’s high time we had The Talk.  Mommy doesn’t know where the time has gone and it seems like yesterday when you were using your little chirping voices to tell me how much you liked your bugs.  Nevertheless, time has passed and I’ve neglected this part of your education, thinking I could keep you safe from the world with farmer-enforced celibacy, safe inside your chicken nunnery.  You’ve matured, as evidenced by the tasty eggs you leave our family each morning.  It’s important to know the potential consequences of being a grown up chicken.  Because, you see, when boy chickens and girl chickens get together they can have baby chickens.  These are the wonders of unprotected chicken sex.

Mommies and daddies can make babies, too.  Mommy took a special test this morning and it turns out she is going to have a baby.  You are going to have another human brother or sister!  Silkie, thank you for offering to go broody (again) to help me out, but I assure you there is no need to pull out any more feathers for the nest.

I hope, my dear girls, that one day you find a special rooster so you, too, can have little chicks.  I would dearly love to have grandchicks, but it is best to wait until you are ready.  Having babies is lovely, but can be challenging.  I heard that chickens don’t have morning sickness.  Mommy would love to know your secret.

Love,

Mommy

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