For the past 20 years, we have had a flock of free range, nondescript hens and roosters. As a teacher, I have seen every year the wonder in my students’ eyes when we incubated eggs at school. Concurrently, I always allow one or two broody hens to sit on and hatch eggs, so that when the incubated chicks return home, they will accept them along with their own.
One day in early spring, our black hen, who was heretofore nameless, disappeared. We feared the worst, that she had been absconded by a hawk, fox, or raccoon. As time passed, we gave her up for lost.
At this point in the story, I should mention that we have horses and a two-story barn. The second story is our hay loft.
One morning, when we went out to feed the horses and chickens, we heard the unmistakeable sound of a baby chick. We followed the sound up the stairs to the hay loft, and discovered our missing black hen, hiding behind some bales of hay, having stolen a nest and somehow hatched out 9 babies without our noticing. The baby that gave away her hiding place was on the floor, having fallen off the bale of hay that was the nest.
We moved the new little family to our nursery building so that our secretive hen could take care of them properly without fear of predators and falling out of the nest. From then on our little hen was given the name of Heidi (Hide-ee), and she has been hatching out babies every year since then.
Contributer Bio: I was born in the suburbs and always yearned for the country life and animals. I got my wish 27 years ago and have been blessed with many chickens, each having their own unique personalities. Caring for them has been a rewarding experience. Life without animals? I don’t think so!
What kind of Chicken person am I: Rural Community – 25 Chickens or less
This post was submitted by Jean Sweezey.