AccomodationBooyong Conservation RetreatCabin GardenVegetable Garden

A Broody Hen

What an interesting month March has been in the poultry department at Booyong. I had no idea how poultry works or what a “Broody Hen” was until I saw it myself. One of our chickens went clucky and was determined to stay on the eggs until they hatch. She was extremely territorial and anytime we opened the nesting box she made a terrible racket.

Bob and our guests went hungry whilst she gathered all of the eggs under and sat there for over 21 days, waiting for them to hatch.

Fortunately we have our rooster “Gary Obama” so we could be assured our eggs would be fertilized and there was a possibility we may get a baby chicken. What I didn’t know was that a broody hen can actually incubate any eggs. Our neighbours were passing eggs to broody hens all over the place to all types of chickens, including silky hens, bantams and even Guinea fowl.

Without our rooster it would have been extremely frustrating, which is probably why many people explore options to disrupt this natural behaviour. According to Backyard Chicken coops, they do this by removing the eggs so they can’t get attached, put them in a cage in a well-lit location, take the hen out of the nesting box every time the sit on their eggs or replace the lid of their nesting box with a grill.

Our Broody hen wasn’t aggressive when approached but she did fluff up her feathers and make some interesting noises. She sat on up to 25 eggs and stayed on them virtually all day, only leaving to eat occasionally and go to the bathroom.

As soon as an egg hatched, her behaviour went back to normal and she began laying eggs like usual.

We were gifted with one baby chicken and 5 Guinea fowl who were incubated by our lovely neighbour’s silkies and gifted to us by another neighbour. We in turn have a chicken who is a rooster and will give him to another neighbour, so its poultry all round!