It is April, it’s early spring, so what do we think of? Lambs a-leaping and baby chicks in abundance that’s what. The lambs might be a little too far out of my comfort-zone (at the moment) but the chicks? Well, yes, you do need a cockerel to fertilise chicks. And a broody hen. I don’t have the former but I definitely do have the latter.
How do you know a chicken is broody? Well, she won’t come out of the nesting box for starters. She likes to sit there on eggs that have been laid that day. (She won’t have laid any.) She also puffs herself out and makes a peculiar noise. When she does venture outside for food her clucking is completely different from normal.
So broody hen? Check. And for fertilised eggs? Well, ebay provides the answer there. I’ve gone for a Welsummer. This will provide, if we’re successful in creating a girl chick, a gorgeous chocolatey dark brown egg. It’ll contrast nicely with the pale brown, the blues and the whites we already have. I mean, think of the Instagram possibilities…
So, this broody hen. She was only a chick herself less than a year ago (see picture below). She became broody during late autumn until we had a cold snap that made her think twice. But it seems she’s determined to become a mum and started again a week ago.
I’ve called her Wincey. She didn’t have a proper name until now, she was just a Barbara Mark 4. But, as she was going to become a mum, or at least attempt to become a mum (I don’t want to count the chickens before they’re hatched after all) I thought it only fair she had a name.
The eggs arrived on Saturday. I gave her a separate coop and run. At first she didn’t want to know as I took her off the warm but unfertilised eggs laid by her colleagues and put her with some cold ones, so I shut her inside to bond with the six eggs. And by the time I opened the door again she was sitting nicely. And still is 48 hours later.
It’s 21 days for a chick to hatch and we are now coming into day three.