08 May 2012
Broody Hen Saga - Part Two
Since this is fairly temporary, I did the best I could to make this area safe for the mothers and their chicks, but also easy to dismantle when the time came. I bought starter feed and a feeder - I already had a waterer from when we had the younger chickens. I got the food and water ready and waited until it was good and dark. Somewhere between nine and ten on a Sunday night, we moved the hens to their new home. Robin thought they might be freaked out, but I felt confident that it would be easy. I think there were five (maybe four) in the nesting box when we moved them. I threw a towel over the box to keep them calm and I picked it up and walked to over to their new home and put them down. It was that easy - they didn't fuss or anything.
I kept a watchful eye on them during their first week in their new home. I didn't know if they would like there. I didn't know what the other chickens would do. One of the first days while I was at work, one of them flew out...then another. They started stuffing themselves in a nesting box back in the hen house. I started second-guessing myself - whether I should have moved them, etc, but I had good reasons: I didn't feel like there was enough room in the hen house. They need special food, and the other chickens would eat it too. If they wanted to leave the house, it was about three feet down to the ground. I thought this was best, but I was a little concerned. One by one they left their new area until there was only one left. The last thing I wanted was to come home and find that all of them had abandoned the nest. I took the initiative and grabbed one of the hens and put her in the new area, and she stayed there. It's been relatively worry-free ever since.
We're approaching Day 21 this weekend - Mother's Day should be when they start hatching. I know that's when the original six should hatch, but I don't know how many more there are after that. We'll have to wait and see.