Monday, November 28, 2011

Snapshot Sunday: Chickies Have Two Mommies

These two hens went broody within about five days of one another. I gave each of them a private nest box filled with eggs in a large unused stall in the barn. I knew that I'd have to move the first clutch to hatch quickly, as the still-setting hen was likely to try to kill them when they started running around.

The morning after they hatched, Broody Prima was in the nest box with Broody Dos, setting on those eggs, while the chicks ran around the stall and popped under either hen indiscriminately.

Sigh. Buff Orpingtons. The golden retrievers of chickendom.

The two ladies raised their clutches communally; within a couple weeks, it wasn't even possible to tell the older chicks from the younger ones. They were very successful, bringing up 19 chicks together. They lost two to a barn rat that grabbed them at night, before the cats took care of him. The two Mommas were seldom more than ten feet apart. I never saw them quarrel.

They have, of course, both earned blue broody leg bands, which exempts them from the crock pot. I'm eager to see whether they sync up their broodiness next year.

Broodiness is a genetic trait, not a learned one, so I am saving eggs from each of them come spring.