Chickens Stories from Our Nest

Welcome Back Tilly

Tilly in the background

Finally after an almost record breaking eight and a half weeks of being broody, Tilly has emerged from its spell and is now taking back her place as head hen.  Sunshine who happily filled in during her absence has agreed that Tilly truly does make a better head hen.  It’s not too bad being second.  Plus, there are always lots of goodies and treats to go around for everyone no matter where you are in the pecking order.

Some people will try and break a hen from being broody because when they are broody they cease to lay eggs.  Some breeds go broody all the time, like my Silkies; especially Dolly.  Other breeds rarely go broody, this is because the instinct was bred out of them over the years.  To breeders, egg quantities over the instinct to rear chicks were more important.   Plus there were now incubators to do the job of the Mother Hen.  Some farmers will even cull hens that are broody as they are not seen as being a financial asset.

Only when their lives appear to be in danger from lack of eating and drinking would we ever consider breaking a hen.  With four Silkies we have broody hens all the time, for us, it is just a fact of life around here.  Dolly goes broody about every 3 weeks.  We always are sure to give them extra food and water with vitamins and electrolytes near the nesting boxes.  Plus broody hens truly make the best mothers.  In fact, if we had more room, we would have let her have some chicks to raise.  Under the cover of night, you can easily slip a few chicks underneath of them and create an instant family.

Interestingly, when Tilly was broody the Silkies were barely broody at all.  When one of the Silkies felt the urge to go broody, it never lasted longer than a day or two.   I would find that they had snapped out of it.  I guess having a nesting box next to Tilly was too much for them to handle.

Yesterday, when I went out in the afternoon to check for eggs, Tilly was perched up in the run on her favorite branch.  Inside the nesting boxes, I found all the Silkies piled on top of one another in the nesting boxes.  They all could not wait to be in there without Tilly.  This morning, Tilly was happy to be back to her regular self.  Autumn and Dolly are officially broody and I would not want it any other way for them.  Being broody is a big part of who they are, who am I to tell them not to do what comes natural?

A bit slimmer than before, she will gain back the weight in no time.

Photo Credit: Tilly’s Nest

Hello friends, welcome! Follow along on our chicken, beekeeping, gardening, crafting and cooking adventures from Cape Cod.