My sweet Icelandic hen Lukka went broody again a few days ago. I knew it was going to happen as soon as she saw a hen in the next run with a new baby. The old girl isn’t as sharp as she once was and kept changing nests, allowing her eggs to get cold. She used to be uber dependable, but I think her age is creeping up on her. She almost died before from devoting everything to being broody and not taking care of herself. I didn’t want her to have to start the process all over again so I decided to just get her some day old chicks. I felt almost certain she would accept them. I called my friend Molly who always has eggs hatching and asked what she had. We brokered a deal to meet in a parking lot where five Swedish Flower Hen chicks would be exchanged for nothing more than a “thank you.” I kept them in the warm garage until dusk before risking giving them to Lukka. If this trick is to work it has a much better chance of happening if done in the evening or night.
Lukka immediately started tucking the babies under her wings and gently cooing to them. They spent their first night together, safe from the risk of chicks falling out of the nest box by chicken wire stapled across the front. A couple of them displayed the propensity for base jumping before they moved out with their new mama.
This morning I found them alert and happy, still secured in the nest box by the chicken wire.
I left them in there while I cleaned the coop. It really needed a good cleaning before introducing new chicks to the floor. They watched every move I made while I cleaned and prepared a wooden nest box on the floor for the new little family. They were most anxious to get out and explore their new home. Lukka handled it like a true pro, showing them how to eat and drink.
The two little guys in front couldn’t stay awake another minute!
In true Isi form, he stayed close by Lukka and helped out with the babies. She is probably going to stick him for child support even those she knows he is not the baby daddy.
As she usually does, Lukka kept the babies in the coop for the first day. My guess is tomorrow they will be out in the run and she will be clucking them into submission for the next three months. Lukka was just born to raise baby chicks. She is the most amazing broody I have even seen. I love Lukka.
Here’s a little video of their first day as a family.
Update 6/7/2013: Sadly two of Lukka’s babies passed away yesterday. I think the heat got to them and perhaps they weren’t drinking enough. At nighttime we moved Lukka and the babies into Coop #1 which has a grassy run which stays shaded most of the day. I hope the remaining three do well. She would be heartbroken without her babies.