Broody Hens Provide Surprising Insight On Mother’s Day

Broody Hen on the Jensen Farm- Day 2 of 21 sitting on eggs

This Mother’s Day I have much to be thankful for. Great examples from my own mom, friends and family-  and of course the husband and three kids that made me one! But one female mother to be gave me surprizing insight about what it means to be a good mom and what we all need.

After purchasing several chicks and ducklings, my friend complained that her hens went “broody”. I wasn’t entirely sure what that meant or why it was worthy of complaining. But if a hen (or woman you know) is preparing for motherhood,  some “abnormal” behavior can be expected from these females!

A typical hen will lay an egg, leave the nest and resume her daily activities.  But once they’ve caught the “baby bug” an intense devotion to her physical body, time and lifestyle is committed to provide the best odds for her future offspring.   My friend’s hens, heard the “cheep cheeps” of newly hatched chickens, and started sitting on the nest all day and all night.

Broody hens exhibit other behaviors that also seem abnormal. They will gather a clutch of eggs into one secret spot, stop laying more eggs and commit to 21 days of 24/7 care of the developing animals. They instinctively know 23+ hours a day of constant warmth and moisture is necessary. She becomes more aggressive with those who come near her and keeps her feathers puffed up even when off the nest. Broody hens will also pluck feathers from their underside to line and insulate their nests. After the intense 21 days of brooding, these chickens are much more scrawny and exhausted than their previous selves and need some serious recovery time!

Sometimes, hens are so dedicated that they forget to take a daily break. Chicks, like children, are vulnerable and understandably selfish. Be sure to love and protect the moms in your life by giving her a daily break.  Provide a meal, clean the “nest” and provide a mental break from the endless task of motherhood. Regular hen’s breaks will normally last anywhere from 10 minutes to half an hour. This will not harm the eggs; in fact, it has been shown to be beneficial to their development.  Without a doubt, providing regular breaks for the mom in your life will benefit her children as well! Show you mommy how much you love her this Mother’s Day.

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