Advantages of a broody hen

Chick on pastureA
week and a half after our
hatched, I’m
starting to see the tremendous advantage of letting a broody hen do all
the work.  After just a couple of days in the nest, our hen
decided it was time to start foraging lessons.  She and the chick
hopped down to the ground and went to work — Mama Hen scratched up a
worm and looked excited, broke it into pieces, and did everything she
could to get that worm into her offspring’s mouth.  She even broke
the chick feed into tiny pieces to expedite our chick’s early meals.

Chick with mother henThe
mother hen also taught me that chicks can be active from week
one.  Although the chick begged for a warm-up session under the
hen’s belly every few minutes at first, by now it’s trotting around the
chicken pasture without a care in the world.  Granted, the chick
does stay close to its mother’s side, and I don’t worry about it
straying despite the fact that it can easily slip through the chicken
wire and out of the pasture.  (Speaking of which, if you don’t
read our homestead blog, you might like to read the tale of
we moved the chick onto pasture
— it was quite an

Chick peeking out from under mother's belly

Tuesday evening, I went
to check on the chick and noticed its mother perched up on the roost
for the first time since the hatching.  Where was the little
chick?  Surely it wasn’t old enough to spend the night
alone?  I walked closer, and a wee head poked out between the
feathers on the hen’s underbelly.  Somehow the mother got her
chick two feet off the ground before it was two weeks old!  This
chick is so precocious compared to our brooder-raised chicks, there’s
no comparison.

Our homemade chicken
keeps chicks
healthy from day 1.

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