Saturday, May 16, 2009

A Broody Hen

One of the Wyandottes has, for some weeks now, been broody -- no, not depressed, but caught up with the desire to hatch out some eggs and become a mother. She's been camping out in one of the nest boxes and swelling up and pecking at our hands when we attempt to see if there are eggs under her.

The nest boxes are for laying eggs -- not for hatching chicks. These boxes are high off the ground but vulnerable to snakes -- and John saw a big blacksnake in the hen house recently. Plus this would-be mama couldn't settle on which nest she wanted. Something needed to be done.

So John built a snug little brooder -- one nest, a panel that shuts with the tug of a string to keep the hen in or out as need be, and a pocket-handkerchief front yard. He used very strong wire with a small mesh in order to exclude snakes. There is even wire on the bottom to prevent any creature tunneling in. (The peeping of baby chicks is like a dinner bell to predators.)

Wynona, as I've decided to name her, seems to have taken the move in stride -- and we've put seven banty eggs under her. Three weeks is the incubation period -- we'll see what happens. I have had hens sit faithfully for 18 or 19 days and suddenly abandon the idea of motherhood -- and the eggs as well. But I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

A room with a view -- Wynona can keep an eye on what's up back in the chicken yard.

Should you want to know more about the process of letting a hen raise a gang of chicks, you can go HERE.
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Pat in east TN said...

Boy o boy ... job well done on John's part, and I wish Wynona well and hope she completes her job and hatches out several little peeps.

Stella Jones said...

Oooo how exciting! I remember when my Annie did the same thing. I do hope it works out and you will let us know how it progresses, won't you? Your husband is so kind to make that lovely brooder for her. I'm sure she will appreciate it. I loved watching my Annie rear her chicks, it was a wonderful experience. Good luck with it.
Blessings, Star

Tammy said...

What a beautiful little brooder house! A work of art for sure. I've had a few wyandottes make good broodies in the past, but like you said, you never know how they will go. Heres hoping you have a batch of little peepers in three weeks! By the way...substitute the 'y' with an 'i' in Wynona and you have my middle name. ;-0 Have a great weekend.

Vicki Lane said...

So far, so good. Wynona seems very happy in her special place.

I've never seen banty chicks -- am keeping my fingers crossed . . .

Susan M. Bell said...

Love the brooder house. Looks kind of like a mini chicken tractor.