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Monday, May 17, 2010

Broody Hens

I have a couple of hens that will go broody at the drop of a hat. One, Marie-Claire, is a funny little Maran hen that's probably 3+ years old. She is a rescued hen and has a funny, wide-legged, hop-walk that is the result of being raised in a plastic tub during her formative months. She goes broody quietly and doesn't fuss when I lift her off eggs and shoo her out of the door. Then there is Attila the Hen. (Attila's golden butt is in the pic at left.) While Buff Orpingtons are usually known for their sweet natures, this lunatic turns into a mad thing when broodiness hits. She has attached herself to Dotty's little nesting box full of duck eggs and will not leave them. She puffs up and screeches when I get close and regularly squeezes herself beside, behind or on top of Dotty and her eggs. This is actually a lucking thing for Dotty who, while she makes a great 'Auntie', is sorely lacking in the broody department. I have very little hope for the four eggs she's been 'mostly' setting on.
This morning, Marie-Claire had her dreams come true. Grendal, my other broody (and much better at it) Muscovy hen, managed to hatch a chicken egg while setting on her own eggs. The incubation period for chicken eggs is about 21 days. The incubation period for a Muscovy duck is over a month. So, while Grendal dashed out for a quick bite and a sip of water, I snagged the little fluff-ball and introduced it to Marie-Claire. When I tucked it under her wing, she then fluffed up and snuggled down and pecked me. I took that as a good sign. Now I have to keep a close watch on Grendal's nest, as there may be more chicks in amongst the duck eggs.

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