Mother Hen

My broody hen has done rather well. Yesterday, when I went to let out the chickens, I could hear someone cheeping from the nest. I tried to see, but mother hen wasn’t moving, and I am wary of her beak. I checked several times during the day, but although there was often cheeping, there was no sign of any hatchlings. I wondered what it would be.

You might remember me telling you, a few weeks ago, one hen went broody and made a nest. I don’t want any more chickens, especially as at least half are cockerels, so I decided to remove the eggs. But a broody hen gets very upset when you take her eggs, and will sometimes disappear in an attempt to hide a nest. I do want some more ducks, and I had some duck eggs in the fridge, so as I removed the chicken eggs, I replaced with them with duck eggs. Mother hen hissed at me, but continued to sit.

Chicken eggs take exactly 3 weeks to hatch. Duck eggs take exactly 4 weeks to hatch – the cheeps were heard after 3½ weeks. So I had no idea what it was, duckling or chick?

Had the mother laid a sneaky egg after I’d removed them? Or had one of the other hens dumped an egg in the nest? I checked several times, but she wouldn’t budge. A very good mummy, but frustrating for me!

Finally, today, they had emerged from the nest. There were two empty shells, (and two dead eggs). I only saw one hatchling – who was being shy. I still couldn’t be sure if it was a duckling or a chick! 

 

 

 

 

Eventually, they started to move around. The duckling watched the mother, copying what she did. She learned how to eat the chick crumb, and drink from the water pot. I’m still not sure if there’s a second duckling – if not, I’ve no idea what happened to the other hatchling (perhaps they ate it!) I will let you know if it turns up (the hen hasn’t actually left the cage, so it could be hiding underneath her).

 

The mother hen was a bit perturbed when her ‘chick’ insisted on climbing into the water drinker, rather than just drinking from it. I fear she has a few water related surprises ahead. And she’s going to be very disappointed when her chick can’t fly this time next week. But so far, she’s doing brilliantly.

Thank you for reading. I hope your day is full of happy surprises.

Take care,

Love,
Anne x

xxxxxxx

You can follow my blog at: anneethompson.com

Anne E. Thompson has written several novels and one non-fiction book. You can find her work in bookshops and Amazon.

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