There’s more than one way to hatch an egg
May 11, 2012, 9:56 PM
Filed under: Backyard Chickens

I have a little black Banty hen named Mary that has been broody for over a month. Broody simply means she has an innate desire (AN IRRESISTIBLE FIXATION I’d call it) to hatch a clutch of eggs. Mary doesn’t care (or know) what kind of eggs she’s sitting on, or if they’re even real, as I’ve caught her sitting on the wooden nest eggs several times! She’s just broody and I can’t get her to ‘get over it’. She’s been sitting on infertile eggs for a month now, (during which time she stops laying eggs herself) and it just made me really sad to think that she might sit on those eggs for months longer before finally realizing they’d never hatch! So… I had a stroke of genius, if I do say so myself.

My neighbor came over to buy some eggs from me and happened to mention that she’d just seen 3 Banty chicks at the feed store. I thought to myself: “Self, why not remove those eggs, put the chicks in the nest underneath Mary,  and maybe she’ll think the chicks are hers!” So I went right down to the feed store, after calling first to find out that they still had 3 left. I only wanted two, but Jim-Bob the owner convinced me that it would be downright cruel to leave the one remaining Banty all alone. He ‘convinced’ me to buy all 3 by offering them all to me for $5, instead of the usual $3 a piece. He also guaranteed me they were all girls. SOLD!

So, here’s a picture of lonely, broody Mary, in her little maternity ward we set up just for broody girls like her. You can just see the eggs peeking out from underneath her:

And now, here’s a picture of the proud new mama with her young’uns!

I’m not sure who was more surprised-the chicks or Mary, but now, 24 hours later, things seem to be running smoothly. When I went down this afternoon to take mama some strawberry tops (her favorite treat!) she pecked at my hand and screamed a chicken scream at me for putting my hand too close to her babies. God love her…

PS. I pass this tip along to any of you that may be dealing with a broody hen too. More and more folks are starting to keep urban hens as pets and eggers, so hoping this tip might help you out of a bind sometime. Ordinarily, I wouldn’t try to fool mother nature like this, but Mary was trying to hatch eggs that would never develop into chicks and with warm weather coming on, her incubator pen was starting to smell, shall we say, ‘ripe’? If you live in an urban neighborhood, you really must consider your neighbors and try to keep smell and noise from your flock to a minimum if you want to remain friends. Just sayin…



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