The Broody Banty Experiment

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I have a very determined little hen who has her heart set on hatching out some chicks this year. I don’t really need more chicks right now, but I’d like to see if she can do it.

All the chicks I’ve raised so far have been by artificial brooder and I’d love to watch a mama hen take on the job. I think it would be even more entertaining to see a bantam hen hatch out full sized chicks and boss them around even when they get bigger than her!

There’s always a market for chicks and layers around here so I think I would probably end up selling them unless I see one or two I like. I don’t want any expensive eggs for this, just some barnyard crossbred mutts are fine. I think I’ve located a source of fertilized eggs at $10 per dozen and that seems a fair price.

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First I’ve got to make sure she’s really serious about this. I know she’s serious but she has to be SERIOUS. For this, I’ve brought out the big guns. Fake eggs. These are some ceramic eggs I ordered off eBay some time ago and they look and feel exactly like real ones. I set them up in the nestbox for her and she was on them in minutes. Once she’s good and settled for a few days I’ll move her in the evening to a small seperate pen with everything she needs and give her the real deal. Then we wait!

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In the Coop: Nest Box Pile Up

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“Oh no please, allow me!”

The first livestock I ever got upon purchasing my first house a year and half ago were four little Muscovy ducklings. I was planning to raise them to eventually hatch their own eggs. Unfortunately one morning, as they were nearing laying age, they were all massacred by two roaming neighborhood pitbulls. It was grisly and heartbreaking.

Fast forward to today, I now have the most secure coop on the block and a new pair of Muscovies living safely inside. About a week or so ago I noticed a somewhat larger, waxy, off-white egg in the nest box. Hmm, did I have a chicken with a health issue? I brought the egg inside and was about to research it when I realized… Of course, it’s a duck egg.

YES! I had my first duck egg. Every day there was another one and I dutifully removed any chicken eggs that appeared in the nest, hoping she would sit on the clutch. Well, it turns out that I now have another first, my first broody hen. Obviously it was the Buff Orpington who went broody first, can she tell these eggs have been fertilized or what?

Unfortunately the duck wants to brood her eggs too. So what does that leave us? A duck and a chicken stuffed into the same nest – a fluffed up and hissing pile of poultry.