She’s such a good Mommy!

If you’ve been following along the progress of our experience with a broody hen, you may have caught Monday’s arrival of freshly hatched chicks! Shelly had been setting on a dozen fertilized eggs. On Monday – day 21 (right on schedule) the chicks started hatching. Seven eventually hatched. Two died in the process of hatching out. L In the next twenty-four hours, two more died – both having fallen out of the nest and got too cold. Super sad!

So – we have three little hatchings.

I’ll be honest. The first few days I was about having a heart attack! I wondered:

  • Will Shelly know what to do?
  • Will she reject them altogether? We’d heard of hens that had actually killed hatchlings!
  • Will she be a good Mom?
  • Should we supplement with a heat lamp?
  • Should we take the chicks away from Shelly and just brood them, like we’ve done our Hatchery chicks in the past?
  • Will Shelly make sure they get enough to drink? To eat?

On Wednesday I said to John, “This is WAY more stress than just brooding them like we always have!”

Today, however, I totally take it back.

I will concede that we have learned a TON about the whole process and would definitely have done some things differently – which would have made a considerable difference in the survival rate, I’m pretty sure.

Would we do this again?

Yeah, I think we would.

Here are pictures of Shelly’s trip to the great outdoors with the babies in tow today. She is a fabulous Mom – and was a total delight to watch!



Rooth is on the left – she was SO curious about those tiny little chicks. You can see that Shelly is all puffed up and is spreading her wings so the chicks can dive under her for protection.





It was absolutely hilarious watching Shelly teaching the babies how to sun bathe and dust!









I don’t think there’s anything cuter than watching the little line of three chicks following – single file – behind Mom!



Rooth decides she needs a closer look at the chicks.

Shelly gives her the eye! Can’t you just hear her saying, “Those are MY babies! Back off!”

Get a load of those ruffled feathers!

All in all, Shelly and the babies free ranged in the yard today for about three or four hours. I was amazed that the babies had that kind of stamina! I’m betting they are sleeping really well!

4 thoughts on “She’s such a good Mommy!

  1. Adorable!!!! And that photo of Shelly walking away with her chicks between the fences was beautiful!
    Thanks for sharing. Any new updates?
    What do the chicks look like now? What sexes did you end up with?


    • Lisa, it’s the saddest story. Remember we ended up with three chicks? Two were girls, one a roo. One morning, one of the girls snuck out between the boards and got out of the kennel where we had Shelly and the babies sequestered. A neighborhood dog (new to the neighborhood – who has now killed three of our big girls as well) snatched and ate her. 😦

      So we were left with two – a boy and a girl. Things were going GREAT. It was the end of August and we’d put Shelly and the babies in the coop with the big girls at night by then, and it was going beautifully. One day all of a sudden Shelly started squawking her head off – like I’d never heard before, so we went in search of. We found her frantically searching for the babies – who were nowhere to be found. As we were walking through our new garden plot we found the little roo – head ripped off, body left intact – laying in the middle of the garden. The only thing we could think was raccoon – in broad daylight! Eventually the little girl came out of hiding from under the blackberry bushes and stuck very close to Shelly.

      Two days later little girl was gone. Never to be seen again.

      We’re so bummed.

      We will definitely do things differently in the future. With the coop expansion we now have an area INSIDE the coop, which, of course, is inside a secured run, where we’ll keep Mommy and babies. John has designed a better nest box for hatching babies, too – and we’ll use that next time too.

      😦 Makes us so sad, tho. We loved those little babies!

  2. If John gets his “Better nest box for hatching babies” done, could you post pictures and information? thanks so much for the great pictures.


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