Setting hens

Early summer is a nice time of expectancy.  The tomato plants and pumpkins are getting bushy.  There are baby apples on the trees.  We’re just getting our first raspberries.  This year we have an added feeling of expectancy because of our chickens.

We’re down to only four hens and had been talking about buying some more baby chicks.  But then two of our hens went broody, and seemed so determined that we thought we might as well see if they could hatch out some eggs for us.  They had been sitting right together, in the very same nesting box.  But the other hens were climbing in and out and we knew that it would be better to separate the setting hens from the rest of the group, both so they’d be less disturbed during setting, and so that they’d not be bothered while raising any babies.

So in the dark of the night a week or so ago, we moved both hens out of the moveable run where they all spend their summers, and back into the regular chicken house where they could brood undisturbed and hopefully hatch us out some chicks.  Since they’d been setting together, and I didn’t want them to feel disturbed by their move, I opted to make them a nesting box out of a cardboard box a bit bigger than the box they’d been sitting in.  We currently have nine eggs under the two of them.  Eggs take 20 or 21 days to hatch out, which puts us somewhere around June 28th if this works. They’ve been getting out of the box now and then very briefly to eat and drink, but then go right back to setting, so we are optimistic.

For those of you who might be interested in chicken types, our rooster is an Araucana, and so is one of the broody hens. The other broody hen is a silky.  We have a Buff Orpington hen and a banty who laid some of the eggs.  And I got three eggs from a friend who has Buff Orpingtons.  It will be interesting to see how many babies we’ll get and what they’ll look like.  When we do, I’ll try to get some better pictures of the little ones than I was able to get of their mommas sitting in the dimness of the chicken house!


  1. Sadly, the government of our town decided against allowing chickens within boundary. the Youth Pastor of our church really wanted to get a portable pen and go for it!

  2. Amber Howard-McGinnis says:

    We have had chickens now for 3yrs. but none of our chickens have ever gone broody–wanting to sit on the eggs. I know some breeds are more prone to being broody, and so are some individual chickens but I’m wondering about the age. How old are your hens? 🙂

  3. Barbara says:

    You didn’t mention a rooster?!

  4. Barbara says:

    Oops! My mistake! I reread your post and saw the mention of a rooster. Love your blog!

  5. Good luck – The silkies are so maternal. I had a hen go broody for the 1st time this year. She sat on 3 eggs but she abandoned them after they were born and sadly they didn’t make it.

    I’ve had much better luck hatching in our homemade incubator. We give away lots of chicks and this batch now we are keeping for ourselves.

    Next year I am going to start raising some Silkies separately and let them do all the work.