Friday, January 2, 2009

Broody

Meet Broody. She spent the entire month of December trying to hatch everybody's eggs. At first I thought she was injured or sick, but then I realized that she might be getting broody. Broody hens are not all that common as that instinct has been bred out of most of the breeds of poultry. Many breeds of chickens will think about brooding, but then give up after half an hour, or two days, and go back to scratching around and trying to eat whatever the other hens seem to be eating. Every day I had to move her off of the favorite laying nest and make sure she got some food and water. She would then walk around squawking and making a lot of noise, which would inevitably start the choir. If you have never heard twenty five hens yelling at the same time, you ought to add that lovely experience to your "Life To-Do List"!



Broody is a partridge cochin. This breed is one of the broodiest. If you want to have a couple of broody hens around your place to hatch out and raise chicks, then you should add a few cochins to your collection. Besides, they have a lovely temperament and are beautiful as well! I have a buff cochin who waits each night at her perch, just before I turn off the light, for a hand-delivered night supper of grain.

Here she is hogging the favorite nesting box. The other hens would just climb in here with her and lay their eggs and she would gladly cover them with her poofiness.



So, I moved her upstairs into the brooder, favorite nest and all. Before I did that, I collected eight of the largest eggs to see if she could actually pull this off. I know that hatching chicks in January is nearly insane, but she wouldn't give up and I am willing to give it a go. I put a heat lamp over her to warm things up and also to keep her water from freezing. She seems very content. I have never seen her off the eggs, but her water keeps going down and her food needs replenishing. Her due date is either January 14 or 15. I'll let you know!

Broody doing her thing!



Uh Oh! Minky (Ameracauna) has been acting broody as well! This is her "Touch these eggs and I'm gonna kick your butt!" posture. She also has a nice little roar to go with that. When she roars, that prompts the choir to kick in again and they sound so lovely.

Having hens wandering around the farm with little chicks in tow sounds so perfect to me. I have a feeling that round one of the brooder instinct will go to Father Winter,
but you just never know!



59 comments:

jayedee said...

we're setting our first eggs of 2009 too! *sighs* doncha just love it?
btw, i have a spring seed giveaway going over at my blog-

http://tinyurl.com/9uqkqy

stop by and check it out, if you'd like!

Claire said...

Good luck with your broodies - nobody is broody here - not even laying at the moment! I hope they'll start up by the end of January. I don't give supplemental light, and there has been a virus in my flock, so they need to recover. :-(

Joanna said...

good luck Broody, nobody is broody here at this time

Sandy said...

Interesting reading about the broodies. I know nothing about chickens so I learn something every time I come here.

A Bite of Country Cupcakes said...

had just finished posting on my blog about our broody gal who was on 12 eggs all fertile and then on day 16....Yes 16!!!
She decidedto give up!!!
I was heartbroken as were the kids.
Now I have another hen not disimmilar to your girl ansd she has sat in the nesting box for 5 days thus far!!!
She is'nt as commited as our other hen though.
Appatrenty a true broody will get off once a day....
Eat drink and poo like no tommorrow and go back to the eggs.
Good Luck to you,Hope you have some lil feathered fluffy friends soon

The Scavenger said...

Guess ya can't blame her for trying. I'm getting one egg every day or so from 7 hens and that's it. A brown one from my Barred Rock, she lays when the others will not. Great pics as always.

Chris

Kelly or Alex said...

We don't have any Broody hens. They just try to peck the heck out of my hand when I collect eggs. So far we are still getting 24-30 eggs a day from 40 hens. How cold does it get in your coop? How cold is too cold for chickens?
Kelly

rhonda jean said...

I agree with you about the coochins. We used to have a beautiful partridge rooster called George. She was such a lovely fellow and always looked after his ladies, calling them over for any treat he found. Aren't hens gorgeous!

Janine said...

That is cool! I have that same kind of chickens as the partridge cochins... but I didn't know they were called that - I think mine are feather footed bantams... but they look exactally alike!

Rose said...

Beautiful Hens. I have 22 Barred Rock hens who will be a year old in April. They sure are good layers. I have ordered a variety for this spring, silkies, Rhode Island Reds, Cuckoo Marans and Buff Orpingtons. Can't wait for them to get here!

Carole@Fowl Visions said...

We will be hatching at about the same time. Mine are in an incubator though. No broody hens here.

Denise said...

I love Broody's colors. She sure is pretty. Those chickens sure are spoiled!

Mom L said...

Hi - this is my first stop on your blog. I follow my daughter's to see what she, hubby and the dogs are up to, but I'm fascinated by the farm blogs. Don, I had no idea chickens could be so beautiful! Until I started reading various blogs I really thought (yeah, naive) all chickens were plain and alike.
Nancy in Atlanta

frugalmom said...

She looks pretty darn cozy there in the box with all the straw and that heat lamp....

warren said...

Sounds like a good bit of fun to me! It's too yucky outside to do anything else so I may even consider sitting on a few eggs!

Don said...

jayedee: I am tentatively excited about my brooding hen. I have never had one do this before and am a little nervous about having little peepers in mid january in Michigan. Oh well, Broody is designed very well to keep her babies toasty, and I'll add some heat to the situation as well!

I definitely want to win your giveaway!

Don said...

claire: virus? good luck with that. I was just thinking about adding a little diatomaceous earth to their dustbathing area.

Don said...

joanna: I'll pass along your encouragement. ;)

Don said...

sandy: be careful, or you'll be getting a few backyard hens pretty soon. It's a natural progression!

Don said...

cupcakes: that's too bad about your hen bailing on day 16. I hope mine goes the distance, but I'm not even sure the eggs are all fertilized! I do have a cuckoo maran rooster who certainly is doing his part.

I wonder what an ameracauna hen (green eggs) and maran rooster (dark brown eggs) will produce?

Don said...

scavenger: broody is certainly patient! I wonder if she gets bored?

I am thinking about adding some barred rocks to my flock as they are such good layers of nice brown eggs.

what other hens do you have?

Don said...

kelly: that's a good ratio of egg laying. What do you do with all of your extras?

It has gotten as cold as 20 degrees F in the coop. I have not seen the chickens act cold. They are always moseying around the coop scratching around for something, and they are continuing to lay eggs.

As far as how cold is too cold, well, I may let you know!! I have a heat lamp going in there, and have a milk house space heater ready as backup.

Don said...

rhonda: cochin roos are beautiful! I am down to one rooster at the moment and hope to keep it that way!

Any suggestions on beautiful hens to add to the flock?

Don said...

janine: bantam cochins are adorable little dudes! I just donated my two white japanese bantam roos to a 4H boy who was thrilled! I didn't want them to go, but they were really tearing up the hens.

Don said...

rose: you have excellent taste in hens!

I love the silkies, and have wanted some for a long time. Maybe this is the year. They are great brooders!

Where did you order your chicks and when are they coming?

Don said...

carole: I am seriously thinking about getting an incubator. Maybe now is the time!! I have a local university that has a great poultry dept. and their fertile eggs are only $5 per dozen!!

Don said...

denise: you are so right on them being spoiled! I just diced up some apples for them. I need to think of some ways to spoil Ruth or she might feel a little left out...

Don said...

mom L: thanks for stopping by! It is interesting to see the huge variety there is with chickens. I just received a really cool book full of photos of unbelievable chickens!

Don said...

frugalmom: I hope she is cozy enough to make it to completion. I like the mystery of what may happen.

Don said...

warren: I could hook you up with some eggs and straw. It could turn into a good science experiment for you and your kids!

GardenGirl said...

Oh so exciting... I know nothing about chickens - except eggs and general stuff, but it's always fun to see what exciting garden adventures people are up to around the world. Especially in the cold dark uninspiring part of the year... will keep on looking in for news of your babies! Keep brooding, Broody.

Don said...

gardengirl: Thanks for stopping by! I am already getting my brain geared up for the spring. I am looking forward to seeing how your garden grows!

elizabethm said...

Our Welsumer went broody in the summer and eventually hatched out 10 chicks (all a bit traumatic, I blogged about it in June). We had to lift her off every day for food and water and to have a wander about but after about half an hour maximum she would carefully put herself back. She was a great mum and having chickens is such good fun. good luck!

shicat said...

Oh dear, I never thought chickens could be so interesting. This is just wonderful. Keep us posted on Broody's batch.

Ginnie said...

Now that I have seen you with your chilluns in the winter time (as well as the summer), Don, I can see why you love these posts so much. You really are making my life richer. Thank you.

And special thanks for taking such good care of ME this past week. I'll never forget it.

Bob Johnson said...

Lol, 25 hens yelling at the same time, funny, I don't think that's on my bucket list.

Broody looks comfy with that light, I could use something like that out in my pod.

It will be interesting to see what happens, if winter wins out and all.

Don said...

elizabethm: i have started to take broody off the nest as she doesn't seem to be doing much moving around. She doesn't want to do anything but sit on those eggs!

We'll see how things turn out!

I want some Welsumers!!

Don said...

shicat: chickens are quite the source of entertainment. I'm thinking about adding some turkeys to the mix this year...

Don said...

ginnie: We had a lot of fun playing Settlers of Catan this week didn't we? You became quite the trader!

I'm glad you all had a safe trip after you and Ruth did your "doughnuts" this morning.

Don said...

bob: The choir does sound great, but is not as majestic as your aurora photos!

shicat said...

Don I have a request. My husband is requesting sound bytes of the chicken choir??? Is that possible:)

Don said...

shicat: that's a really funny request! I'll take the video camera out there and see if I can get the girls howling.

jen's farmily said...

I got all excited when one of our EE hens went broody. I waited three days then I tried to move her and her eggs into a cage to keep her away from the other chickens and she didn't want any of it. So I let her out and she hasn't tried since. I guess she wasn't that motivated!

I hope you get some cute chicks out of it! Can't wait to see pictures!

Don said...

jen: It is fun just to see the hens give it a try! Broody is now on Day 13. Next week, if she endures, we may have some little puff balls.

Shellmo said...

Love hearing about your hens! Hope you get lots of eggs!

laura said...

Once again I'm showing my citification and lack of understanding of all things "natural," but am I crazy to be a little frightened by the idea that "broodyness" can be bred out of a chicken? That's a very scary idea to me! (But maybe a roaring chicken is even more scary? What do I know!)

Don said...

shellmo: thanks for the encouragement!

Don said...

laura: isn't it just like us humans to muck things up!

It seems that the chicken breeds that are closest to their roots are the ones who can hatch out the eggs. Most of the "familiar" chickens , like Rhode Island Reds or leghorns are very unlikely to brood as they are hybrids. Occasionally one of them will pull it off.

laura said...

Oh how sad--how terrible for the ones who don't "pull it off"! (I can't help anthropomorphizing.)

Gwen Buchanan said...

..."Having hens wandering around the farm with little chicks in tow sounds so perfect to me"... it's the best...

Hot Belly Mama said...

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I chose you for this award because I feel that you truly are an inspiration for me and I look forward to reading your blog every day. Thank you for being a wonderful blog writer!

david mcmahon said...

G'day from Australia.

Everyone needs a Broody in their lives.

Don said...

laura: I find myself talking to the chickens as if they can understand me, so I too, am guilty of anthropomorphanizationing. (W ;))

Maybe what they don't know doesn't hurt them.

Don said...

Gwen: I think you are working up to starting your own little brood! I see a little coop in the making...

Don said...

hot belly mama: thank you or your kind award and your even kinder words! You made my day.

I enjoy reading your blog and following your adventures. I wish you continued good thoughts as your baby grows!!

Don said...

David: G'day to you too!

I totally agree with you about having a broody in your life. I am a broody at times too.

I enjoyed your shared blog post on the letter Y. Outstanding!

Farm Chick Paula said...

Awwww.... Broody is so pretty, Don!! And you're right- cochins are so sweet. (most of the time)
I do hope she's sucessful- you never know what she's liable to hatch out!! (But isn't that the fun part? tee hee)

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