Motherhood is Universal

January 3, 2012
Last Winter

Dolly is broody yet again.  Her instinctual drive to be a mother never ceases to amaze me.  Like clockwork, she completes being broody after 3 weeks.  After about a week off the nest, she begins to lay again.  Once she lays about 10 eggs, she returns to the empty nesting box and restarts the process.

Some women love to be mothers.  Some women never care to be.  I find it fascinating that the same appears to be true of chickens as well.  I have a few hens that go broody very often, while some have never been broody in their lives.

Mothers are dedicated to their unborn.  Like pregnant women that rub their bellies and talk to their unborn children, a broody hen rocks her eggs side to side and whispers in chicken language to all of her eggs.  A broody girl also keeps the eggs warm and pulls feathers from her breast to keep the eggs close to her skin and provide the proper humidity, perfect for hatching.  Over the 21 day incubation course, she leaves the nest once to meet all her daily nutritional and bowel needs.

Mothers are selfless.  Mothers often put their children’s needs ahead of their own, sometimes forgetting that they have needs too.

Mothers are the first teachers.  Once hatched, hens teach their children their language.  They teach their chicks to eat and drink and how to become adult chickens.

Mothers protect their children.  A mother hen will go to extremes to save and protect her baby chicks.  Heroic unselfish acts of sacrifice are seen time and time again.

Mothers set the rules.  A mother hen runs a strict household.  She calls the shots.  She tells the chicks when to eat and drink.  She tells them when there is danger and to seek safety.  She even sets a bedtime.

Sadly, the young leave the nest too quickly.  Like kids, the chicks grow so incredibly fast, hurrying to reach a more complicated adulthood.  At six weeks, the chicks are fully feathered and ready to leave the nest and the comfort of their mother hen.

Mothering is amazingly universal.  These traits are shared across all species.  Mothering has its own language and it begins with love.  It is a love of something much deeper than we will even know for something that we have never seen or met.  It is having a bottomless heart. It is self-sacrificing, given freely and expects big things for such little ones we have never met.  Dolly, you never cease to amaze me.  You are one remarkable chicken.

Photo Credit: Tilly’s Nest


Author/Blogger/Freelancer-Sharing adventures with backyard chickens, beekeeping, gardening, crafting, cooking and more.



21 thoughts on “Motherhood is Universal”

  1. Hi Kathy! Welcome. So glad we can help anyone get started with their own flock. That is one of the reasons I started blogging! Be sure to check out our Chicken Care/Resources page. There is a ton of great info there!

  2. Thank you Mis Daisy and thank you Google translator: In English, here is her sweet comment:
    I found it very gentle on your language explaining hen I will add to my list there is always something to learn

  3. It also holds true that some make great moms and some don't. Betty is a great hatcher and mother. Doris isn't a good hatcher or mother. But, she loves to go broody and assist Betty. She's more of a helpful aunt. Babysit but give em back.

  4. Yes, isn't that so true, Feathers was SO jealous when Dolly and her chicks went into the larger coop with the others. She kept trying to steal them away. Eventually, they shared the babies. Amazing, I tell you!

  5. Hey Melissa!
    I just found this blog and now I'm really excited about it!
    My parents always had backyard chickens, so I basically grew up with those fascinating birds.
    Thank you so much for this blog! I'm definitely gonna keep following it.

    Franzi from Germany

  6. Hi Franzi! Welcome! I am so glad you have joined us. One of my best friends here on Cape Cod is Viola. She too is from Germany. I have featured two of her coops on my Tour de Coop page. She is always teaching me new neat German ways of doing things.

  7. Thank you California Wifey. I am always finding similarities between the lives of humans and the lives of chickens. I have learned and been reminded so much by them. Glad you found us!

  8. I don't have chickens but I love reading your blog! You have a great writing style! I also found you through Bloggers of Note. I love seeing and reading about all your "adventures" with the chickens and farm. Good luck and keep up the great work!

  9. I was moved in this post by how much you seem to love and admire Dolly. Will you then let her and the other chickens live out their natural lifespan even when they are no longer egg-productive?



    • Thanks for the comment Ashley. Of course, the girls and I plan to grow old together for as long as they live. I might be the first to write about a chicken nursing home.


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Sharing an inspired life from the New England seaside. Chickens, Bees, Gardens, Art and Yummy Goodness.