Saturday, September 27, 2008

Feather Has Two Mommies *

Before you put me on your banned blog library list, let me explain. Most hen breeds aren't broody, with the exception of Bantams. Heavy breeds lay 'em and leave 'em. They are career women with no interest in raising children. Bantams on the other hand will sit on a rock, hoping for a miracle to become mothers.

One of our half-Bantams became broody, but had only her own eggs to sit on, which were not fertilized, as far as I can tell given that our rooster is either too young or gay. Still, she climbed under the deck to her hiding spot daily to hatch her imaginary chicks. So, William asked if we could put a few of the big breed eggs under her. We put her in a cage and set her up with two probably fertilized big eggs and one probably not fertilized Bantam egg.

About the time that she began sitting, her sister also became broody, yet had no eggs. However, the two old large breed hens (the only ones I have now), stopped laying, so I could give her no egg to sit on. Each day, I'd take the cage outside, open the door, and Sister #1, previously sitting on eggs, would run out, eat, take a dirt bath and luxuriate in stretching her legs and running around. Understandable. Only, Sister #2 decided that if Sister #1 wasn't going to sit on the eggs, she would, and moved herself into the cage.

I feel for both, wanting to be mommies, yet not enough eggs to go around. So last night, I wondered what would happen if I gave each an egg and put them both into the cage. As you can see, they are both quite content and have decided to share the "nest".

I have seen Bantams cooperate in mothering before. Once, we had a Bantam in a cage that hatched an egg. Another Bantam sat outside the cage as close as she could get. The chick would squeeze between the bars of the cage and get under the foster mom. I thought it rather disloyal of the chick, until I realized her real mommy was sick. She later died. The chick must have sensed this was coming for she grew up happy with her adopted mom.

If the chicks do hatch, it will be in the next few days.

*It has come to my attention that some people may not get the play on words of my title of this blog. It refers to the children's book, Heather Has Two Mommies, a book about two lesbians that have a child named Heather. It has been banned in some libraries. Most recently, it has come to media attention because supposedly, Sarah Palin asked for it to be removed from the library of the town where she was elected mayor. I've not read the book, nor am I offering an opinion. Nor are my chickens lesbian. I think.


Camflock said...

I love the idea of cooperative parenting! It could have some advantages! I just am not sure how I would get over sharing my hubby.

debra said...

One of my Black Austorlorps was broody (I don't have roosters). I had to keep throwing her out of the nesting boxes---she wouldn't move or eat otherwise. My girls are getting old, too. And a couple are beginning to molt. So it's a 1-3 egg/day time over here. I'll get some new girls in the spring.


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