A little over a month ago I noticed one of my chickens was spending a lot of time in the coop.
Well after the incident I had with the mysterious chicken illness I thought it was best to go and check on her.
I opened the nesting box and she growled at me…
Yes… chickens can growl… its like a low pitched baaaaaawwwwwwwwwwkkk… and it’s more intimidating then you’d think!!
I tried to reach under her to collect my eggs and she pecked me!! I tried to explain to her that those eggs would never hatch and so she should go ahead and let me have them… she didn’t listen.
“I think my chicken has gone broody” I texted super friend Holly. “She’s all puffy and she growled at me”
If you’re wondering what broody means its basically the chicken equivalent to PMS. They get all puffy, very moody, growl and want to peck anyone that bothers them, and retreat to a private place because they want to be left alone… chicken PMS.
I’m thinking of saying “I’ve gone broody” one week of the month from now on when I’m feeling out of sorts.
Since Holly has a rooster she’s got access to fertilized eggs and promptly texted me back, “Do you want me to bring you some eggs for her to sit on?”
I figured she’d feel happier with something to do, and wouldn’t be mad at me for taking her potential children every day so I said yes!
The next day Holly arrived with 6 eggs ready to be sat upon. I marked them on the end with an X so I would know not to collect those… because that would potentially be very gross.
Miss Broody Hen was very happy to have some kids to take care of although she was still very very growly.
After a few days I went out and she had moved the eggs from the nesting box into the main part of the coop, and there were only four eggs there.
Where did the other 2 go??? I have no idea, it will remain a mystery for the rest of my life. There is a crack between the coop and the nesting box and I think they may have fallen out during the move… but where they went from there I do not know. I made sure to cover that crack though so if Mama chicken decided to move the kids again it would be safe.
So I learned some really cool things about chickens and their eggs while my hen was happily sitting in the coop.
Development of an embryo doesn’t start when the egg is fertilized, it starts when the egg is at the right temperature and moisture level that a mama hen sitting on it provides. So you can have eggs that are fertilized days apart, but they’ll all start developing when mom starts sitting on them.
Mom can tell if one of the eggs isn’t viable and will kick it out of the nest and only sit on the ones that are developing.
It takes about 21 days for the baby chicks to fully develop and hatch. Once the first chick hatches they start making they’re little peeping noises so the others know it’s time to come out and play!
Broody hens are some dedicated birds. She only left the nest once a day, to eat, drink and poop. She’d come out for about half an hour and then she’d be back at it. (I had watch for that window to go out and collect the other eggs!) Broody hens also don’t lay eggs during their incubation time.
The 21 day mark fell the day before Mother’s Day. I got a little panicky the day before and started sending Holly nervous chicken texts. I was suddenly afraid the other birds would peck the babies, that they’d somehow get out, or that they’d hatch at night and I wouldn’t know it…. which would totally not have been a big deal but it was worried about it. Holly called me a worried Chicken Grandma and laughed at me… so I chilled out!
Well Saturday morning around 9:30 I went outside to check on Mama and the eggs. There was a cracked shell, I got entirely too excited… like super excited. I very cautiously lifted Miss Broodys feathers up and saw a little yellow head peak out!!!
“WE HAVE BABY CHICKY BIRDS!!!!” I ran in the house shouting, way more excited than I think normal people would be. But there were eggs one day and then there were fluffy little baby chicks, its some amazing shit. Totally worth stupid excitement levels.
The boys came out with me and we checked again and found another shell… and another fluffy little friend!! A brownish one with a little bit of black on its head. We could tell the third egg was cracking and could see more yellow feathers!
We waited to see if the fourth egg would crack but it ended up being a dud, I should have known because a couple of times I found it pushed away from the others but I put it back in the pile… apparently mom knew something I didn’t
I moved Mama Hen and the kids into the “downstairs” of the coop. It is completely enclosed so they can’t get out but there is room to scratch around and roam. Since there isn’t a nesting box down there I repuropsed a cat bed that we made because it is the perfect size, we filled it with bedding nd the little family moved right in.
Now, 2 weeks later everyone is doing just great! It’s amazing how these little chicks just act like mini chickens. They drink out of the waterer and food dish and scratch all around just like their mom. They are lively little things and like to try and perch on their mom’s back and run like crazy and hide behind mom when they see me or the dog or cats.
They are starting to get feathers, the yellow ones are staying a creamy color and this little one seems to be developing stripes! And brown/ grey legs, I’m interested to see how it develops!
I don’t know yet if I have hens or roosters… neither Holly or I have ever sexed chickens… so we’ll just kind of wait and see how they develop!
In the meantime we’re excited to see them grow and make friends with these super cute little birdies!! I’ll be sure to keep you updated!
Subscribe to my Newsletter!
Plus exclusive recipes & more each month!