Saturday, August 09, 2008

When Good Hens Go Bad

White leghorn chickens are known for being good layers, unlikely to go "broody" and set - sitting on their eggs to raise a family. My leghorns are great layers. I had noticed recently that the number of white eggs I was finding had diminished. Two days ago I discovered why.

This lovely girl came out of the woods with 15 chicks. Fifteen. She's challenged the geese and keeps a good eye on her babies, finding food and shelter for them all. Someone forgot to tell her that leghorns don't make good mothers.

Chicks are born with life skills intact. They stay close to Mom, seek shelter quickly, and find food efficiently. They are adorable.
One of my Sebright hens left her friends to make a solitary nest and hatch 9 eggs. She and her chicks hang out by my neighbor's house, foraging and hiding in tall grass and blackberry brambles. I've never thought of chickens as solitary, but I have  another hen who hangs by herself at great distance from the rest of the flock. Whenever I find her remote homes she looks at me as if I have no right to disturb her peace.

So much for a career of selling eggs. I seem to be in the business of raising poultry.

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