This weekend I noticed a stray Welsummer hen off on her own amongst some tall grass, just sort of poking around. I watched her for a moment and realized why we’ve been short a few speckled eggs lately… she’s playing hide & seek. We gave her wide berth to avoid disturbing her (I really wanted to find out where she’s been hiding out) and stumbled across this..
Not much bigger than a dog. Cute beyond words. Kept moving and noticed calf #3 for the season laying in the pasture.
Extra cute. Finally discovered what I was after. Sneaky girl! She’s been working on this nest for a while. She selected a lovely spot under a small hickory tree in knee-deep grass. Save her ba-gokking, I would never have found it.
Paul & I debated for a few minutes and finally decided to leave the nest. We’re gamblers remember? Ms. Welsummer has decided she’d like to be a mom. Some breeds of chickens go broody (mommy-mode) more often than others. Welsummers are somewhere in the middle. Many of the primo egg layers have had this trait bred out of them to keep those eggs crankin. Because a broody hen = no eggs.
Having personally acted as broody hen to 38 chicks & fowl in the last few months, I was
delighted at the idea of someone else doing the feeding and tending. So the nest stays. We even decided to help her out. A broody hen generally lays 10-12 eggs in a clutch before settling down to the work of incubation, which takes about 21 days. There were 6 eggs in the nest when we found it. We added 6 (including a few of the blues) to round out the clutch. Once a broody hen sees a full clutch, she’ll get down to the business of setting on them. No worries about her accepting eggs, hens don’t count well and don’t seem to care what color eggs they sit on (sometimes they persist sitting on a nest with invisible eggs).
We’ll see if she has the commitment to see the process through – some give up easily. We
decided it was a worthy experiment to see if somehen could hatch out some of Taco’s first progeny. Paul installed a nest cam to keep tabs on activity. So we should have good coverage of any developments. However, if she proves committed, we will move her with her nest to avoid predators. If all goes well, we might just have the first farm-raised Buck Naked baby chicks by July. Good luck mama!