And on the twentith day, there were chicks…

This is Banty Mama.  She came to us last year in the middle of a brooding that ultimately failed.  Ever since, she’s been the dominant mother hen on the property, even adopting a chick twice her size at one point last fall.  When she started laying in the spring, I expected her to go broody fairly quickly.  She laid every day for a week or so, and each day I pulled the eggs.  Finally, I decided to leave her eggs alone and see what would happen.  Sure enough, after laying six eggs in a nest, she was in full-on broody mode.  I added six fertilized eggs from other hens to her nest and went about the business of leaving her to do her thing.

The two other hens in our tiny flock laid eggs on her almost every day, but she persevered.

Today, a full day earlier than I expected, I was surprised to find these little buggers in the nest.

It’s hard to tell from that picture, but there’s a fifth one hatched, though still wet and completely exhausted.  The sixth egg is in the process of hatching as I write this.  Once that’s done, that’ll be it for the six original bantam eggs.  I expect the rest of the eggs to hatch tomorrow, and before long, our little mama will be wandering in the pasture with quite the little brood.

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