Hatching your own chicks with a broody hen is an adventure

Hen with chicks (Photo: HPJ staff)

Hatching your own chicks with a broody hen is an adventure that combines the wonders of nature with the charm of traditional farming.

My year/old Easter Egger, Peach, decided she wanted a family of her very own. I was hesitant to let this happen. I don’t necessarily have the space and, quite frankly, I had no clue what I’m doing. Thankfully, I don’t need to know what I’m doing. It’s all instinct for chickens, and Peach sat faithfully on her nest of 11 eggs. All of my hens contributed eggs to this adventure, and one hen even left two eggs to hatch.

The next three weeks were all about patience and trust. Peach stayed on her nest almost constantly, getting up only occasionally to eat, drink, and stretch her legs. It was quite a sight to see her fluffing up and clucking softly to her eggs. When I would peek in, sometimes I could catch her gently nudging the eggs with her beak—a motherly touch to ensure everything is just right.

As the 21-day mark approached, we started to hear faint peeping sounds coming from the nest, signaling that the chicks were on their way. My son, Chasin, and I watched in excitement as three chicks hatched and made their way into the world. Over the course of the next three days, 4 more chicks hatched. Sadly, one passed away, but we ended up with 6 baby chicks.

We kept momma and babies in the coop with the other hens and rooster but kept them sectioned off as to not upset momma. When it was time to let momma and babies out, none of the other chickens messed with them. If you ever heard the term “mother hen”, this is how it goes: any other chicken that even looked at the baby chicks wrong got an earful from momma. Peach fluffed and puffed herself up and all but attacked anyone or anything that got too close.

Now the really fun part…waiting to find out how many will be roosters!