About three weeks ago, Laura, our black Australorp, went broody. In the past, since we didn't have a rooster, we would do what we could to break the broody hen and would take the eggs from under her daily. But since we now have a rooster, we decided to let her give it a go. Having absolutely no experience with hatching eggs, we didn't know how often she could be off the nest and for how long. Often we would see her running around the yard with the flock, but she was always back on the eggs at bedtime. After about 10 days, Vanilli assumed the role of broody hen, and I'm thinking she did so during one of Laura's romps around the yard. For a few days, they seemed to be taking turns. Eventually, Vanilli took over for good and was pretty steadfast, an improvement over Laura's flightiness.
Today, Nate threw some scratch out and Vanilli came flying out of the nest box and the coop. Behind her, just as cute as could be, came a chick! He said he just looked at that chick, and said, "Where did you come from?" It was following Vanilli all over the yard, and then he gathered them both up and put them back in the nest box. He did find a dead chick, and later in the evening, once I got home from work, we found an egg that looked like the chick was trying to get out, but didn't make it. Vanilli is still sitting on about 9 eggs, and the little chick was nestled under her when I closed up the coop this evening. I sure hope we get more! This will be our first time raising a chick naturally with a mother hen and not under a brooding lamp.
Here is our new cutie!
And a trip around the yard with Mama Vanilli!