In the back garden we have a run full of hens. In the front garden we have another smaller hen run which houses “Monty”, the Millie Fleur Pekin and couple of ladies to keep him company. As it is wintertime and there are no vegetables or flowers for the hens to destroy they are all given free range and the doors are left open for them to come and go. Once I opened up Monty’s pen all his ladies, inevitably, ran off to be with “Vulcan” the silkie cockerel from the other pen. Sadtimes for Monty but he did have his private bachelor quarters in the front garden.
However… last night I noticed that the door of the pen had blown shut (the weather has been pretty horrific here) and I thought, poor Monty, I hope he isn’t stuck inside. Dashing over to rescue my prized pekin I open up the door to discover something I really wasn’t expecting.
One of last year’s chicks sitting on a nest of no less that 9 eggs.
This has always been a particularly odd chick; she’s spent nights before perched on the kitchen roof rather than be in the hen run. Which is one of the reasons that I hadn’t noticed her absence, also because we have simply far too many chickens. She’s a dutch bantam silkie cross (I think) and although was bred to be a broody she’s only 8 months old herself and I hadn’t realised that she’d even started laying.
She had a rather interesting hatching, (if you think chickens are interesting) as she was hatched under a cream legbar. Unlike silkies and silkie crosses legbars and not known for their parenting skills and when “Veronica” went broody anyone who knows anything about chickens told me not to be so stupid she’ll never actually hatch anything. I though it was worth a shot anyway and, lo and behold, she managed it.
Surprisingly she did a brilliant job, giving us all plenty of lessons about not judging a book by its cover. Cream legbars are bread for their eggs laying, not only do they lay a lot of large eggs, they also happen to be a pretty light blue colour. I like to think that Veronica is the hen that can do it all.
So what to do about the broody in the bachelor pad. It’s not really a good time for hatching, its a bit early and no one wants to have chicks out in the snow. Yet at the same time I couldn’t face aborting the eggs, I’d given Veronica a chance and she wasn’t meant to manage it so who’s to say these guys wouldn’t make it. And aside from that my fiance is shooting down south and wasn’t here to stop me. So I let her keep them
I took out the three that were cracked and gave the rest back to their mother, she busily arranged them under her and clucked angrily at me for bothering her babies. I don’t know when, or if they will hatch, I’ll keep you posted. In between times any naming suggestions for the hen would be most welcome. I’m try to think of a famous person who had a secret child?
I was then suddenly worried about Monty, but it turns out that he’s bunked up with the other hens, must just be staying out of Vulcan’s way. Poor Monty.