We have a broody hen!
This lovely puffed up Buff Orpington has decided she wants to be a mother hen. Which is a bit unusual given she is less than one year old, but hey, free chicks! If I let her (which I am, she will sit on the eggs until they hatch then take care of the babies).
How can you tell if a hen is broody? These days, with all the genetic tinkering, the chances of seeing a broody in the first place are slim. Because a broody hen is not laying eggs, the broody trait has been bred out of most of the more productive breeds. But if you have a heritage breed lingering in the nest a lot longer than usual for egg laying with a settled, Zen-like intensity, you might have a broody. If she’s hostile and puffy looking chances are even better. If she stays on the nest rather than going to roost, there’s an excellent chance she is broody. I decided this gal was definitely broody when I noticed she’d plucked all her chest feathers out, she’d been in the same nest box for 4 days, growled at me when I got too close, and picked a fight with a Rhode Island Red for no apparent reason.
If the eggs she is sitting on are fertile, meaning you have a rooster, you’ve a very good chance of having baby chicks in about 20 days. If you don’t have a rooster (or other access to fertile eggs), you need to break the broodiness. I slipped 12 eggs I assume are fertile because we have 3 roosters, under her Saturday night. Hatch day should be March 24.
While we have had chickens for 5 years, this is the first time we’ve had roosters, so it is a very exciting time at The Happy Pig.