Saturday, May 12, 2012

Hens are good mothers

Happy Mother's Day! Chickens get broody when they start thinking about becoming mothers.When one of my five hens took it into her head to become broody a few weeks ago,I assumed she'd simply have to get over it.

I removed her from the nest and the golf ball she was setting on a couple of times, to loud squawking. And she promptly returned. In some sense, it was a good test. I knew she was serious about setting.

As it happened, I was chatting with a friend who has a hen who is often, even permanently broody. She's at the bottom of the pecking order and has had a rough time fitting  in. Apparently she found her niche in being broody. She's a pretty Blue Cochin, but not very assertive.

As we talked, we got the idea of putting some eggs under them. He located a farmer who had fertile hatching eggs for sale, and soon both our hens were setting on real eggs. She's got six eggs under her, three Coronation Sussex and three Welsummer. No problem telling them apart -- the Welsummer eggs are dark brown, with speckles. Beautiful.

Coronation Sussex are an unrecognized very rare variety. I've never seen one. The plumage pattern is similar to a Delaware, but instead of black the contrasting feathers are silver or lilac. The friend who picked up the eggs, told me the birds he saw were beautiful.

Welsummers are a modern composite egg breed. They were admitted to the APA Standard in 1991 in the Continental class.

This hen is a Speckled Sussex. Other good broody breeds include Ameraucana, Asil, Barnevelder, Brahma, Buckeye, Chantecler, Cochin, Cornish, Cubalaya, Delaware, Dominique, Dorking, Dutch, Faverolle, Holland, Japanese, Java, Jersey Giant, Kraienkoppe, Marans, Nankins, New Hampshire, Old English Games, Orloff, Orpington, Polish, Plymouth Rock, Rhode Island Red, Silkies, Sussex, Welsummer, Wyandotte.

All games are usually good brooders. Madagascar Games, Malgache, are reported to be willing to adopt chicks from other broods and of different ages. Males sometimes brood chicks.

They vary by individuals and some lines are better brooders than others. Ask the breeder how broody his birds are.

1 comment:

Maša said...

what a sweet post for mother's day! :)