Tuesday, March 30, 2010

We have a broody hen! I am so excited about this I can hardly express it. It is a wonderful amazing thing to care for something its whole life and then see it prepare to care for its own young.

She is a Dark Cornish, one of two in our flock, she is not one of our friendlier or prettier birds but she has a very likable quality. The description of her breed in the Murray McMurray Hatchery catalog (from where we have ordered all of our chicks with great satisfaction) says they are "good setters and mothers" obviously I cannot attest to the latter but with the former I certainly agree. She has only left her small clutch of eggs for short periods once or twice a day, since going broody the end of last week. She seems prepared to fiercely protect her precious eggs, even giving me the chicken equivalent of a snap every time I hint at reaching my hand into her nesting box.

In a life of off and on chicken raising something I have never experienced is the natural incubation and hatching of chicks. When I was a kid we had some disastrous experiences with home incubators and as an adult have only purchased baby chicks. I do know, roughly, the process a mother hen goes through to incubate her own eggs but I suspect there is a lot that I have yet to learn.


  1. How exciting! Keep us updated on the process! We recently had some baby shrimp and a baby fish born by surprise in one of our tanks! It was really exciting.

  2. Oh, how well I remember those disasters. The natural way is obviously the best way -- we just always had hens that had had all the broodiness bred right out of them. How silly! I am very excited about your future hatchlings!

  3. We are about to start our own backyard coop. We don't have the means to raise chicks, so would like advice on finding grown laying hens to purchase. Any thoughts?

  4. Jerry, I am so sorry for my late response.
    If you have any friends or neighbors with chickens I would check with them first. They may be willing to share or sell some of their flock and you would have the advantage of knowing where your pullets were coming from.
    As a second choice I would ask your local feed store or check the buletin board there. Also, you County Extension Office might be able to provide you with information on chicken farms in your area.
    Good luck, thanks for reading, and sorry again for my delay in responding!