Back in November, one of my young Delaware hens decided to go broody. My husband and I were surprised that a hen would want to sit on a nest that late in the season, and this hen was very young, just six months old!
The place she originally chose to sit was not great for the time of year. She was on the ground, and in a place where we couldn’t really keep her warm. We decided to try and move her into a brooder pen. Mama, which is what I named this hen, did not approve of our choice! She would not stay on the nest, so we let her back out. She promptly returned to her original nest place for about a half day. She must have then decided that this wasn’t such a good place after all, and moved herself to a much more suitable location. She was off of the ground, and protected from all the elements, so we left her there.
Mama had five eggs under her. They were not all her eggs; some were from our other chickens. We thought this would be just a nice amount of eggs for a first mother to try, so we left her with that many.
We tried not to get to excited because we weren’t sure that she would hatch the eggs, being so young. It turns out she is a very good mama! The first eggs started hatching on December 7th. The fourth egg to hatch had some problems. The peep started to break out of the shell, but never made it the entire way out, and died. The last egg hatched on the 9th.
As soon as she was finished hatching, I moved her back into the brooder pen in our basement. We now have four healthy, adorable little chicks. I am anxious now to see if we will have more broody hens come spring, and whether they are as good at mothering as Mama is!
Merry Christmas to everyone at GRIT, from my peeps!