Jun/26/2012 07:58 AM
We got a batch of chicks in the mail yesterday, and as we happen to have a broody hen, we tried to give the chicks to her. At twilight when the chickens can’t see but we can, I picked the hen out of her box and plopped her down in the chick enclosure. She was pecking at the chicks until I started stuffing them under her body. Then, it was like a switch was flipped, and she started her mama clucking and nestled down on the chicks. The chicks, for their part, quit alarm calling and burrowed under the hen as soon as they were in contact with her. This morning, 24 chicks were out of sight under mama, and one was resting against her chest in front of her. The amazing power of instinctive behavior patterns! And let’s face it, there’s nothing cuter than a mama with chicks. We are excited to finally pull this off. We are hoping our mystery chick (Murray) is a rooster so we can allow some of our broody hens to hatch and raise next year’s chickens. Murray looks like an Australorp, which would be a good breed for producing egg layers.