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The latest on Earline, the wannabe mom

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by birdlover, Jul 4, 2007.

  1. birdlover

    birdlover Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 11, 2007
    Northern Va.

    Below this is the original story about Earline, my broody hen, that tried to steal Pansy's one little chick. Here are how things are going now. Earline has just tagged along with Pansy and her chick since she came off her nest and, now, Pansy pretty much tolerates having this other "white on rice" chicken next to her at all times. The chick (which will be 4 weeks this Thurs.) is no longer afraid of Earline and will come over when Earline calls her to get the treat she found. Earline attacks any chicken, duck or dog (on other side of fence) that comes to close to her precious godchild. LOL Pansy is wandering further and further away from her chick, much to Earline's delight but the chick still definitely views Pansy as her mother. Pansy no longer makes the "follow me" noises but Earline clucks non-stop. I predict that Pansy will grow tired of being a mother in a couple of weeks and Earline will be waiting with open wings! I'll let you know!


    Original story:

    I have a broody hen that has been sitting on air for 21 days, more or less, and, today, I encountered something I've never seen in my 4 years of keeping chickens. This is her first time and I didn't want to let her hatch eggs so I took them each day (eggs she rolled under her after another hen layed in her nestbox). I have another broody who I let hatch ONE chick because she's gone broody so many times I decided to let her have just one this time. The chick is 2 1/2 weeks and, up until today, all was calm and peaceful. But, this morning, when I opened the coop, Earline (the one who has no eggs or baby) was trying to steal Pansy's baby. They all came out and Earline followed Pansy wherever she went and would call the baby and try to get to it but Pansy would fight her off. Once, they almost had a knock down, drag out! The chick, of course, was frightened and kept trying to jump on it's mother's back. Earline was frantic. I managed to separate them with some chicken wire but Earline kept trying to get near the chick. If Pansy and her chick were pecking near the wire, Earline would lie down on the ground next to them and Pansy gave her a couple of good pecks through the fence. Earline ran around and around trying to get to them, all puffed up, making that broody noise and, once, she made the "come get this goody I found" noise to the chick, before I had managed to separate them. I now have Earline back in the coop and have her fenced in with food and water so she can't come out. After a half hour or so, she went back in the nest box but she's still very upset. Poor thing. I feel so sorry for her. Now, before you say to get her a baby or two, I am maxed out in numbers. In fact, my dh is very mad that I let Pansy hatch a chick although he's now accepted it after 2 1/2 weeks. I have 7 chickens and 2 ducks and that's more than I intended to have as I live in the suburbs, my coop is only 5' x 10' and I only want a few chickens for pets and company. I had up to 32 last year and gave them all away when a fox started picking them off. I'd rather have given them away than let him kill anymore. Now that I've started back up, so far, I've had no problems with them. I think they went away after they learned their free meals were gone. I never intended to have 32 chickens but it was my first time and you know how that goes! Started with 3 and kept getting, or hatching, more! Now, with only the 7 (counting baby chick), it is so much easier and more managable and I really do prefer it with a smaller number. And that's the only way I could get my husband to agree to let me get chickens again. He was fed up with 32 freeranging in our backyard. So I guess the only other choice, other than getting chicks for Earline, is to wait her out. [​IMG] It's just that she wants chicks sooo badly and, if it weren't for my dh, I'd get her a couple. Sorry to be rambling on and on. This is the only place I can come where people will understand. Have any of you had a hen that tried to take another's babies away? If so, how did you handle it? Thanks for listening, if you got this far!! [​IMG]

    Last edited: Jul 9, 2007
  2. justusnak

    justusnak Flock Mistress

    Awwww, that poor hen! I have only had frizzle hens go broody, and they both shared the same nest. Thankfully there were several hatchlings for them to share. Do you know someone that might have a few chicks to "loan" you.? Just for a few weeks? Maybe DH will be ok with it, if he knows they will be going " back home" in a few weeks? Just a thought. I do feel sorry for the chickless hen.
  3. birdlover

    birdlover Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 11, 2007
    Northern Va.

    Thanks for your thoughts! I thought of that. I know someone who's always hatching eggs in her incubator. I have misgivings about going that route though. She sells her chickens for meat OR eggs and I'm afraid I'll not want to give them back when the time comes. And I know my dh is going to insist I won't. In fact, he is definitely opposed to getting an animal and then giving it away. If this continues, I may just go ahead and do it though! Earline is supposed to be a cuckoo maran but I'm sure she has silkie in her! (Say no more, huh?)

    On a different note, what does your user name mean? I've been wondering. Is it short for "Just a Snack"?

  4. justusnak

    justusnak Flock Mistress


    This screen name I have had for many years. When DH was in the AF...we lived in Alaska for 6 yrs. Thats where I came up with... JUST US N AK ( just us in Alaska) I get alot of people thinking its JUST U SNAK LOL I never thought of that when I thought up the name. Altho we have been retired 7 yrs now...the name just stuck!
  5. Chellester

    Chellester Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 22, 2007
    Nor Cal
    Just tell your DH you'll give away the chicks after they get older. People usually have to do that anyway for various reasons anyway (too many roosters, etc.). It's not like a couple of more chicks is going to cost a fortune in feed.
  6. birdlover

    birdlover Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 11, 2007
    Northern Va.
    It's a lot more complicated than feeding 2 more, Michelle. It's the actual body count. I promised not to get more than 4 and I've broken that promise twice now and he takes those kinds of things seriously. If I do it again, I'm afraid it's going to really cause friction between us and I'm not the type that can just thumb my nose at him and do it anyway. I guess I did that twice already, though, huh? [​IMG]

    Well, Earline got out of the pen I hastily constructed and went back to following Pansy and chick around. Then dad Leviticus (the only roo I have) got in on the act and kept trying to drive her away too. I had to go out for a while and now that I'm back, Earline is sitting in the run making her broody noises. (She could go freerange with the others if she chose). I'm hoping and praying that this is the beginning of the end of her broodiness. My goodness. Pansy would just get up at the end of 21 days and go about her business as if she hadn't been sitting on a nest for the past three weeks! As I said before, this is a first!!!

    Last edited: Jul 4, 2007
  7. birdlover

    birdlover Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 11, 2007
    Northern Va.
    Well, you won't believe this. I go to close up the coop and check to make sure all my chickies are present and accounted for. Earline is in the nest box with Pansy and, as I'm shining the flashlight in, the head of the baby chick pops up between the two of them. AWWW! We'll see what tomorrow brings. Maybe Pansy will share now??

  8. lurky

    lurky Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 4, 2007
    Western MA
    That is soooo sweet [​IMG]
  9. Chelly

    Chelly Cooped Up

    May 11, 2007
    Awww I hope they do share, that would be so SWEET!!!

    You need to post some pics, they sound like really sweet girls.... (if a little nutty on the maternal side)
  10. Chill_Billy

    Chill_Billy Out Of The Brooder

    Jan 16, 2007
    I can relate.....
    I have 2 eggs under a silki that my DH doesn't even know about!!!!!!!!

    they should hatch on our b-day if fertile.
    They are cochin eggs and so small I can't see into them. My litte silki hen is soooooo broody
    I saw her stealing from the cochin hen ( that has never gone broody)and she looked so cute turning eggs with her beak I sort of just left them.
    DH keeps noticing she doesn't come out much but I distract him and say she comes out in morning.hahaI have made a private space for her and eggs when they hatch...just have to move her today and keep hubby away from coop for the weekend..ha
    So coffee is almost done and I am headed out to fix u a nursery....

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