Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Broody hens and gestating mamas

Wow, so much reproductive energy flowing through our home! Yesterday, Isaac (who is in charge of caring for our flock of backyard chickens) discovered that one of our hens had gone broody. She had found an almost inaccessible (to us) spot between the waterfall on our pool and the massive cactus behind it, where she kept laying her eggs and sitting on them in hopes of hatching them. We don't have a rooster, so these eggs would never hatch because they are not fertilized. Issac could see there were eggs under her, but not how many. Because of the cactus, he was unable to get to the hen and take her off her nest, and she was not budging an inch. With some long barbecue tongs, he was able to fish 9 eggs out from under her, but he thought there might be a couple more left that he could not reach. 

Today, with the help of my husband who moved some of the cactus out of the way, Isaac was able to get to her. When he picked her up, there were a total of 12 more eggs under her!

We will be using all the eggs. I have read online that fresh eggs can stay good for weeks outside, even in hot weather. It's not summer here yet. I did the freshness check on the eggs by putting them all in a big bowl of water. None of them even remotely were starting to float, but were laying flat on the bottom of the bowl. Which means they are still fresher than most store-bought eggs, which are often 6 weeks old or older. 

That being said, I will only use them cooked, not raw in mayonnaise or desserts (I only use eggs that were laid that day for that). Typically, we go through a half dozen eggs per day. Today, I made banana chocolate chip pancakes with 6 of them, and may fry up some more for lunch with some fresh egg noodles. A couple more breakfasts of omelets and French toast, and they will all be gone. 

The broody hen seemed out-of-sorts about having lost her nest, but not much. We cannot give her real eggs to hatch because as soon as they hatch, the other hens would peck the chicks to death. I have read that people use fake eggs made from plaster of paris or wood, or stones that are shaped like eggs. Maybe the kids and I will whip up some fake eggs for her today if we get some time.


On a related note, I am 15 weeks pregnant today. The nausea is still lingering, but has been better the last couple of days. Mostly, I cannot well tolerate anything greasy, or simple carbs. Yesterday, someone wearing way too much perfume was in my house for a matter of seconds, and it made me ill for hours afterward. 

The fatigue is also still with me - if I don't get at least 8 hours of sleep at night, I don't feel well. But at least, I don't need a nap every single afternoon any more - it was taking away my time to do special school-related projects with the boys during the girls' nap time. Daily green smoothies make such a noticeable difference in how I feel. 

I am getting to the point where most of my regular clothes are not fitting well any more, but many of my maternity clothes are still way too baggy. I'm hoping to start seeing my midwife in the next couple of weeks. When it's your 7th pregnancy, those prenatal appointments just don't seem as exciting as the first or second time around. :) Not much they can check for in the very early weeks, anyway. We are now well into being able to check heart tones, so I really need to be going in for an appointment. The first one is a dread because there is always SO MUCH paperwork to fill out. My plan is to meet my midwife at a nice restaurant downtown for that part. 

My sweet little girlies are always pretending that they are either pregnant, or just had a baby. Often, I will walk by to find them sitting on the sofa, "nursing" absentmindedly, while looking through a book. As I walked out of the office this morning, I found Becky had made up a little nest on the sofa for herself, four of her dozen babies, and her toy puppy. I love how she always pushes the baby car seat around on top of her shopping cart like I do when I go to the store. 

Look at that smile! Someone needs to teach her that staying home with your babies and cuddling them on the sofa whenever you feel like it is the least enjoyable calling for members of the female gender - or so they would have us believe. That's why all these career women go around smiling from ear to ear and happy all day long. 

Well, time to get started on lunch and make sure the boys are finishing up their morning school work. Have a nice day everyone!


  1. Sweet Becky and all her babies! What a beautiful little girl!

    I loved reading your pregnancy news...I too am one "broody hen" at the moment!

    Glad your nausea has lessened. Every blessing on the rest of your pregnancy! :)

  2. All those eggs from one chicken! Wow, that's really cool. You're going to think I'm an idiot, but I'm just wondering how all those eggs can fit in one chicken. You know, before they come out. It has to be more complicated than that. I'm off to learn about how chickens and eggs work because I am way too old not to know this sort of thing. Thanks for this post. I like learning things.

  3. Congatulations, I'm 14 weeks with #5. This will be the 6th child including my step daughter, and so far ALL girls! I love it, but oh my poor husband. We had a broody chicken a while back but thank goodness not stuck in a hard to get at spot like that. Now we've just got a rooster, so if one goes broody it should be interesting. Will the hens really peck the poor little chicks to death? I didn't know that. :(

  4. Hehe, the egg story was so cute! Chickens really are fascinating. And man those eggs look awesome. Your daughters are so cute, pretending to breast feed :) I used to do the same thing when I was there age. I can't wait to be able to do that in real life some day.

    God bless :)

  5. The chicken lays one egg a day and collects them. Nine eggs= nine days that she's been sitting on them, adding one a day to her "clutch".

    Oh my word! You need to get that poor hen a man. Do you need a rooster? God only lets me make roosters when I incubate. I've got an extra one now that is destined for a head yanking in about 2 weeks.

  6. We had chickens growing up and they are so fun. We had one hen that I remember being so mean when she was "setting" (old school southern-speak for broody). We would go to "steal" her eggs and she would chase you down, peck your shoes, and fly in your face.

    I remember thinking that we were so cruel to steal the momma hen's babies. So silly.

  7. lucky you, I have 6 hens and they haven't laid one egg between them yet. I am not above taking my stock pot out and threatening them with it either. First girl who lays does not end up as Sunday dinner :-D

  8. Oh my goodness - I also need to do some research on chickens and eggs. I feel to ignorant!

    Your girls with the fake nursing/tending to babies are so adorable. Children are the best mimics. But, rest assured, we career women also smile a lot, at least I do ;-)

  9. Becky does look adorable! A little girl at play is always a treat to watch.

    But, you and I both know that motherhood is not always joyous. There are many days when we do not smile ear-to-ear. Life can be difficult sometimes, whether you are a stay at home mommy or a career woman. The best thing that anyone can do is choose the path in life that will make them smile the most.


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