So… just as I predicted, two weeks after beginning egg incubation, one of our hens went broody.  Out of our whole flock, this is the one bird that I never, ever, expected to want to be a momma.  Can you guess who it is?  Is it our Silkie, the most broody breed known to man? Nope.  Is it one of our sweet, good-natured Orpingtons, known for their desire to hatch and raise babies?

Wrong again.

It’s the most fierce, squawky, bat-shit-crazy bird in our flock.  Little Carl.  That’s right, Little Carl is going to be a Mom.

She stubbornly decided three days ago that all of the eggs and the nesting box belong to her now.  The only problem is, she forgot to inform the rest of the flock.  She sits in her box on those eggs all day long, flat as a pancake.  The other birds who like to use that box enter the coop everyday and scream and squawk, jumping up and down from the box trying to get her out.  When she won’t budge they get in anyway.  The two birds yell angrily at each other for a few minutes until things quiet down.  I went into the coop yesterday to see how they solved this situation and found this:

Broody hen

For some reason, this is an acceptable solution for both birds.  They’ll lay in that nest together until the egg drops, then the layer takes off to eat more grub, ditching her spawn with Little Carl.  LC tucks the new egg carefully underneath her to join the rest of the developing babies.

With all of this hilarity comes an astounding amount of beauty.  I’m in awe of Little Carl’s devotion to these eggs.  She only gets off the nest once or twice a day to get some food or water then gets straight back to it. She sits all day in a zen-like calm, cooing to herself and her tiny embryos.  The changes in her behavior are amazing.  It’s truly beautiful to witness a creature on the path to motherhood.  She’s no longer the rambunctious little monster she used to be.  She lets me pet her every day and allows me to check on the eggs underneath her.   She’s a sweet little momma-to-be.  It’s only a matter of time before her sweetness turns back to insanity as she defends her new brood from the rest of the flock.

I’ll be sure to post plenty about this new development!

Happy Trails!

-Meredith

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