A Broody Hen and Her Chicks: A Personal Story

My personal story of an unexpected hatch and my first day with a broody hen raising her chicks...

"Hoppy's a Mom!

Ok, I know I said we weren't getting any baby chicks this spring. And, technically, I'm correct. We did not buy any new chicks. But it turns out our partridge cochin, Hoppy, did have plans for baby chicks and with a little assistance, she got them.

Here's what happened...Hoppy went broody. This is nothing new since she's a cochin; she's always broody. No big deal. Except that this year we have Roopert, our unexpected Buff Orpington rooster. Then enter into the picture my husband who has always wanted to have Hoppy hatch her own chicks. So, as Hoppy patiently sat in her nest box, my husband took two eggs he thought were fertilized and put them under her. He marked them to keep track of them. Every morning he's been letting the chickens out and then closing them up at night. He knew how many days this would take.

I didn't give this whole thing much thought and went about my business until yesterday morning. My husband came into the house and asked me to hold out my hand and close my eyes. I don't like this trick, so I refused. He didn't need the trick though, because some little peeps echoed from his pocket.

So, there you have it! Two baby chicks hatched sometime in the wee hours of May 13th. A late Mother's Day gift!

With the news, I quickly set up our "chicken hospital" with bedding and a new nest box for Hoppy. I knew we had to move Hoppy and her chicks out of the main coop. There's just not enough protection and we've got lots of predators; cats, snakes, raccoons, a dog. Plus, we're having yard work done.

Hoppy easily settled into her new coop in the garage and, for the most part, kept the babies under her until my kids came home from school. Then, Hoppy couldn't wait any longer. She moved over to the food and water and the two chicks came with her. She showed them how to eat and drink and they had a great time trying out their new nibbles.

Hoppy patiently let us hold the chicks and then tucked them back under her belly for a little TLC.

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This morning the chicks are more sure-footed. They routinely peek out from under Hoppy's belly and pop over to get something to eat. My kids took a moment before they went to school to say goodbye to the chicks and declared they have naming rights with Lemon and Lime topping the list.

It's amazing how easy it is to have a hen raise her own chicks and to see the bond between mother and chicks!"
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