Thursday, April 30, 2015

A conundrum....

Long before Spring actually arrived, the little red frizzle hen was broody. She sits in the nest box on an absconded egg for 23.99 hours a day, the other .1 hour is spend dashing outside to eat, deposit a big, smelly pooh, getting a quick drink then back on the nest in case some other hen might get the same idea.

Then I come along and rudely yank the egg right out from under her, and she would patrol the nest boxes for another egg that needed to be kept warm.

Last year she successfully raised three foster chicks for my sister and was very happy.

Every year I get 3 or 4 new pullets to replace the hens I inevitably lose through the year and to keep eggs flowing into the winter months. I wanted more Blue Wyandott's to replace my beautiful Blue who died unexpectedly this winter.

I was going to be in Sioux City on April 12 so thought I would go to my niece, Carri's, Bomgaars because they always have a great selection of chicks but first I had to see if I could move the little red hen and not have her lose her broodyness. I put the red cat carrier in the blue jay cage, bedded it, put food and water, it was ready. The little red hen screeched and squawked as I removed her from the current egg she was keeping warm and plunked her down inside the carrier. Before I was out of the gate, she was down the ramp and heading for the door. I fought her off and got out of the gate alone. All day she paced the fence, voicing her displeasure at the turn of events, she was one unhappy little hen. I decided to give her an egg to see if that would calm her down because it was only going to be a few days before she would have her own family. I thought I gave her a big egg because I knew it wouldn't be fertile, the little roosters and the big hens plumbing don't match up.

I fought her off again as I went in the gate, she was bound and determined to go back to the chicken coop, there were eggs that needed sitting on! I put the egg in her nest, then caught the little red hen, she screeched and squawked and carried on as though I was taking her to her death. I gently placed her in the carrier where she could see the egg and she calmed down immediately. She fluffed out her ruffled skirts and slowly lowered herself over the egg, tucking straw and moving it around until she was satisfied.


Sunday morning she was still firmly planted over her 'baby' so I went off to SC, sure that I would bring home a family for her. I was so disappointed to find Bomgaars had very few cute chicks and no Wyandott's and wouldn't be getting any for a couple of weeks. The next week I called around to all the Bomgaars within decent driving distance but heard the same story. I finally called our local Bomgaars and found they were to get both Silver and Gold Wyandott's the week of April 20 so I put in a hold on 4, 2 each. No one were getting any of the blue variety. Such is life.

The little red hen was sitting on an 'infertile' egg anyway so it didn't matter if we had to wait, and wait we did, the chicks didn't come in till April 24, to cold and rainy weather. They went into the chick crib in the basement by the corn stove to stay warm.

(It was a zoo trying to get this photo by myself, they do not sit still! One immediately tried to 'dust' herself on the towel.)

Back to my story, two weeks had gone by since I gave the 'infertile' egg to the little red hen, the day was sunny and warm and it was time to introduce her to her new family. She will certainly be surprised then that one egg produces quadruplets!

With much cursing and scolding, on her part, I removed the egg from under her to discover it was a Serama egg, YIKES! It could very well be fertile so I took a bright flashlight to a dark corner of the basement and verified that there was a chick growing inside that egg, it should hatch in another week.

It wasn't really a conundrum, there was no way I could discard that egg, that would be like an abortion and I couldn't do that to the little red hen after her diligence of the last few weeks. So the chicks stayed in the basement by the corn stove and I check on the egg every other day. Today she was cursing and scolding me when I removed the egg and looked for signs of pipping. Then I held it to my ear and the chick was talking back!!

It should hatch this weekend so stay tuned for updates on the little red hen, her chick and four foster chicks. Will it be tough blending the family? Will she be partial to her own chick over the foster chicks or will she think it's a miracle, 5 chicks out of one egg??

To be continued.....


  1. I can hardly wait to see what she will do.......

    1. The egg is piping, great excitement abounds!!

  2. Always something neat going on, isn't there? How blessed we are to be able to live on "the farm" where we can experience first hand the wonders of God's creation! And reading your blog is almost like being there! Keep up the good work!