Country Living Series

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Autumn surprise

We have a hen who keeps getting picked on by the other chickens. She must be extraordinarily sexy, at least by rooster standards, since she's ragged from their attentions.

As a result, we're forever finding her in odd hideaways. Don even found her tucked into a crevice in our log pile one day when he went out to cut firewood.

So when I saw a hen tucked into an awkward spot between one of our barn pens and the milking stall, I thought it was this particular hen.


Two or three days went by and this hen didn't move. Wondering if she was dead or injured, I finally slipped my hand down into the spot -- and got myself soundly pecked.


Okay, different hen -- and she's setting on a whole bunch of eggs.


Holy cow, I have never seen a breed of chicken more inclined toward broodiness than these Jersey Giants. Here it is late September and she wants to hatch chicks!


Well, after some discussion and despite the looming colder weather, we decided to let her have her way. We can protect the chicks until they feather out. One of our fall projects is to expand the chicken coop and add a separate yard for growing roosters as we raise them for meat, so we should have plenty of room for a larger flock.

So this is our autumn surprise -- more baby chicks on the way.


Meanwhile, you may ask how the rest of the baby chicks are doing? (You might remember we had a hatching in late July.)

Of the twelve surviving chicks born to that mama hen, nine have made it. Two died at a few weeks of age, and sadly we just lost one this week which drowned in the cow's water tank.

But the rest are doing fine. We still can't distinguish which are hens and which are roosters, but that's okay, we'll be able to soon.

This is mama with a couple of the chicks when they were about a month old:


And here's a few I photographed yesterday:



They're currently in that awkward gangly "tween" stage, but healthy and active. We'll be giving four of the young hens to a neighbor who wants to start a flock, and raising the young roosters for the pot.

Meanwhile we're swimming in eggs. Boy these Jersey Giants are prolific layers!

9 comments:

  1. Our chickens are really putting out now that it has cooled off some. I do wish they were more uniform in out put as wee seem to either have to many eggs or to few. Right now we are giving away a dozen or so each week but I know when the days get shorter that will drop until we barley have enough for ourselves.

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  2. Thank you for the info on the Jersey Giants. I wanted to get some for next spring and now I'm sold on them.

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  3. ...this "sexy" hen could be considered so because the roosters naturally pick up on her broodiness. Hence, their efforts will be more likely to be rewarded with progeny.

    Cool beans on the teen chicks and the bumper crop of eggs. Loved my Jersey Giants when I still could still keep chickens!!!

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  4. ...this "sexy" hen could be considered so because the roosters naturally pick up on her broodiness. Hence, their efforts will be more likely to be rewarded with progeny.

    Cool beans on the teen chicks and the bumper crop of eggs. Loved my Jersey Giants when I still could still keep chickens!!!

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  5. I have a Black Australorp that will go broody at the drop of a hat! I had separated the rooster from my hens because he was tearing their backs to pieces. Several weeks later, this hen decided to go broody - she collected the eggs from the other hens and started setting. Nothing would persuade her to get up - I even tried explaining that the eggs weren't fertile and would never hatch - no dice! She set on those eggs for 6 weeks! I finally caught her off the nest eating and I stole the eggs. She was ticked! Next spring, she's going to get her chance - I'll probably even let her hatch some Khaki Campbell ducklings for me. Great hen!

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  6. sounds like your sexy hen needs a hen saddle, rather expensive but you might be able to make one.
    it would be a relief to her.

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  7. I have had good luck with putting a board in the water trough that reaches from the center of the tank to the rim. If a chick or wild bird falls in, it can climb out and jump down. Linna

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  8. Yup, they are broody with a capital B. Great birds. Nice and hearty, and sweet when they aren't protecting a clutch of eggs. They are so earnest about the whole affair!!! They are entirely enchanted by setting on anything rounds such as eggs or golf balls that their eyes roll back in their heads and they coo. Too funny. I would love to let mine have some chicks but we have no rooster. I let our local teacher know that if she has any chicks from her classroom hatchings that need a mother, I have just the girl for them.

    God Bless,
    Janet in MA

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  9. Haha,oh my hens are so moody ;) Thank you for your faithful blogging! :) A reader from MN

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