Sunday, September 23, 2018

Who's Your Mama?

We had a Speckled Sussex hen start to sit on a clutch of eggs a few weeks ago.

Then one of our Black Australorps seemed to think the Sussex needed help and joined her.  So we had two hens keeping the eggs warm.

But then after a few days the Speckled Sussex got miffed and left.

Our one Muscovy duck who has been broody in the past took over the vacated spot and started sitting with Black Australorp.

Still following?

A week or so ago, four eggs hatched but one little chick seemed very weak and didn't make it.

Each of the three birds who had a part in incubating the eggs decided she was the mother of this little brood.

The setting and hatching took place in the solarium attached to the chicken house, and that's where they were all living in harmony.

However, apparently the two chicken mamas and one duck mama had some kind of a falling out regarding the way the three little ones (all of the chicken variety, by the way) were being raised because all three started fighting to the extent we were afraid the chicks were going to be harmed in the scuffle.

So yesterday while I was doing more cleaning in the garden, Papa Pea moved the chicks into another pen of their own (with a top opening flap for putting in water and feed) and decided to put only one "mama" in with them.

After he finished the task, I asked him which bird he chose to be the single mother.

He said, "The Black Australorp because she was the one smart enough to fly up and into the pen through the top flap before I had time to make the choice."


Cynthia R. said...

I love reading your blog although I don't comment, but this is so cute. I have laughed so hard.

Mama Pea said...

steakandeggs - Thank you for reading. I'd love to hear your comments at any time!

Anonymous said...

Yep, best instant “momma response” ever

wisps of words said...

A new Icon here!!!


Double wow!

Super wow!

Aren't you the 'cutie,' what we can see of you. :-))))

✨ 🍁 ✨ 🎃 ✨ 🍁 ✨

wisps of words said...

Excellent thinking, Papa Pea!!!!!!!!!!


✨ 🍁 ✨ 🎃 ✨ 🍁 ✨

Mama Pea said...

Ruth Dixon - Last summer we had a mama duck hatch out several ducklings . . . and one chick. That chicken still thinks she's a duck and pals around with her duck mother!

wisps of words - Actually, that's an old profile pic from a couple of years ago (me and my morning latte!) that my daughter "seasonally inhanced" with the purdy leaves. I've never been called a "cutie" so your sentiment is much appreciated. Attractive, maybe, on a good day, but never cute!

Lynne said...

Just love the way they all take care of the eggs. Incredible !!

Michelle said...

I hope Leigh reads this to Dan, since they haven't had much success with their Australorps going broody!

I was just thinking this morning while hoeing my garden (inspired partly by you) that I haven't seen or heard much about your poultry this year. Glad they are still around.

Mama Pea said...

Lynne - You have to wonder why each of them doesn't start their own little clutch of eggs if they have this urge to go broody. They sure are interesting to watch!

Michelle - We haven't had much luck with our Australorps going broody before this! It was one of the reasons we first tried the variety but, over all, have been disappointed. Since this gal was the one who jumped right up into the pen after being instrumental in the hatching, too, we're thinking we'd better keep her around for next season, for sure!

I know I haven't posted much about the poultry, but always fear I'm boring everyone by talking about them and showing pictures of them. You know, how many times can I post a picture of the geese? Of the ducks? Of the chickens??

Now get back out there in the garden!! ;o)

Goatldi said...

Let us hear it for the Black Australorp first responders rock! You are having more action in your coop then mine. I had to laugh at the title as in a land far away I once belonged to a dairy goat club that hosted a buck show only every May and the title was "Whose Your Daddy?"

Pioneer Woman at Heart said...

We never did get chicks this year. The hen got up and never came back, and there hasn't been a broody one since then.

Leigh said...

Great chicken story! How in the world could anyone think that living in the country is boring! Interesting that your Muscovy and chicken hens got along fairly well during the incubation. Our chickens steer clear of our two Muscovies and neither species appears to have much fondness for the other.

Mama Pea said...

Goatldi - Ah, yes, those dear buck goats! What stories come to mind when thinking of them.

Mama Muscovy Duck was a sad case for the past 36 hours. She spend every moment walking around the pen where "her" chicks and the Black Australorp are now housed. Last night Papa Pea took pity on her and put her in the pen and all seems to be well with their little world now. The two mamas are coexisting and everyone is happy. The Speckled Sussex? She seems to care less now. Whew!

Kristina - Sadly, there seem to be very few broody hens anymore. So hard when you want to raise your own replacement chicks.

Leigh - We've had a little different experience with our chickens and ducks. They seem to exist together quite well. (Except when there is a rumble over chicks hatched!) The geese on the other hand? A totally different story!

wisps of words said...

Oh I am so happy for Mama Duck! That Papa Pea put her in the "nursery" too. :-)))))

Hope you get to see The Full Harvest Moon tonight!


Nancy In Boise said...


Mama Pea said...

wisps of words - I know we're not supposed to put human emotions on animals (or birds) but neither of us could take it watching her walking around and around the pen where "her" chicks were! She obviously felt an attachment to them and didn't want to be separated.

Yes, we'll be taking in the full moon . . . if we can see it. Supposed to have clouds and a high chance of rain. Boo-hiss!

Nancy - Yep, the more you watch animals and poultry, the more interesting it gets.

Susan said...

Those Australorps are brazen little things - with a very strong maternal instinct, as it shows. My hens go broody at the oddest times - like now. Maybe it's because they are molting and are hiding in the nesting boxes until their feathers grow back.

Mama Pea said...

Susan - I've done that. Hidden out at home until a bad haircut grew back.

We're hoping these three little late chicks get their true feathers in lickety-split time, before the really cold weather hits. If not, they have two mamas who I'm betting will keep them warm. :o)

Kev Alviti said...

I had a bad experience where I left two hens to go brood and kept them together. They were fine until the chicks hatched then the one hen went mad and started killing them! Luckily I was a round and the damage was minimal but a pretty poor start for the poor things! Down to one mum will be a much better idea I think! We've got 26 meat chicks turning up tomorrow and I'm more excited than the kids!

Mama Pea said...

Kev - Yes, I can see how that easily could happen. With the ducks and geese, we've been warned to keep an eye on the males (if they are within the same confines) to make sure they don't attack the newly hatched birds. I think when birds are in circumstances not totally "natural" odd or undesired things can happen.

We've never raised a batch of meat birds, but have purchased from from friends who have. That will give you a lot of good meat for your family and to share with others!