My Welsummer pullet Chatty Cathy went broody several weeks ago. She has been a horrible sitter but just wouldn’t give up. I finally gave her eggs from the incubator that were on hatch day and she squished one of them and the other didn’t hatch. Still she would not stop sitting. She was sitting on wooden eggs and real eggs part of the time. Every time another hen wanted her nest box, she would go into another leaving her eggs behind to get cold. I cannot stress again what a horrible sitter she was. But she was determined. The only time in all those weeks I saw her eating or drinking was when two hens pushed her off the nest and the two of them took over her nest. On Thursday I decided that she was going to be a Mama if it was the last thing either of us did.
I went to the only two feed stores in town looking for a day old chick for her. No one had any so I got the smallest chick I could find, a little Sicilian Buttercup old enough to have wing feathers growing in. I wasn’t sure it was going to work. I gave Chatty Cathy the baby chick and at first she didn’t know what to do. She ultimately tucked it under her. The baby kept falling or jumping out of her nest box which was of course on the top. So I moved them into a little coop by themselves and closed them in for the night. They bonded and have been inseparable since.
The first day out for them was yesterday. Cathy was so weak from sitting for so long that she could hardly walk. She found a shady spot in the lawn, next to the food and water I put out for them and she sat there with her baby all day. The baby would would wander a few steps and Cathy would cluck her disapproval and the baby would come back. With Mama in fragile health and an active baby it got interesting. The baby did everything it could think of to get Mama to move but nothing worked. Pecking Mama’s eyes, earlobes, wattles, and swinging from her comb did nothing. Mama was planted in the shade and she wasn’t moving. I took a little video of the naughty baby. My absolute favorite part is the look on Mama’s face at the end. Priceless!
I am happy to report that, as of this morning Chatty Cathy has recovered her strength sufficiently to chase the naughty baby all over the yard all day long. I think this one might have a happy ending. That naughty baby is the apple of Cathy’s eye (the one the baby didn’t peck out). Just kidding. She’s fine. And happy. And no longer taking up a nest box!