Spring was in full force here in Michigan and one of my Blue Laced Red Wyandotte hens had gone super broody. My flock is a small backyard flock that does not have a rooster. I have had hens in the past go broody, but were quick to break of it. Their hopes must have been dashed when no fine gentleman Roo came a calling. However, this BLRW broody girl was of the most determined sort.
For two weeks, I chased her out of the nest boxes. I collected eggs from her hiding places multiple times a day. She was a determined mama to be though. Nothing deterred her from the nest. One trip over to visit Jennifer at Iron Oak Farms and the wheels in my head began to turn. What if I got her some fertilized eggs to sit on. Hmmm, doesn’t that sound like the most logical choice for helping a broody hen? Well, at the time it sounded perfect to me.
One more trip to Jennifer’s and I went home the proud owner of a fertilized French Black Copper Maran egg for my broody girl to mother. Mother she did. She was the most attentive nester I have ever encountered. She collected other eggs to add to her clutch of eggs and she made herself right at home in her favorite nest box. The weather was nice, Spring breezes, bugs and greens to eats everywhere, but she shunned all those luxuries in the hope of hatching an egg.
My boys were super excited about the prospective chick too. They counted down the 21 days on a calender, but still asked every other day if it was time. I set up an old dog house coop as the soon to be nursery. Fresh bedding, the smaller waterers and feeders. Chick starter was bought. This baby was a highly anticipated little one.
Then, day 21 came and went. No baby. I was not discourage, maybe I was off a day or two in my counting. Babies come late all the time. A week passed and still no baby. Broody Mama was still sitting on her eggs. She was as diligent as ever. I, though, had given up hope in that egg hatching. Maybe something went wrong. Maybe the egg was too cool from the drive from Iron Oak Farm to my home. There are so many variables to what could happen and what did happen, but I let her sit on her eggs for awhile longer.
This last Friday, I had to leave to take my youngest son to a baseball tournament out of town. I checked Broody Mama, she was still sitting on her eggs. Instructions were left for my husband, just in case, and we were off. He swears she stayed on her nest all of Saturday. On Sunday, my little boy and I came home and immediately checked the backyard coop. Broody Mama was sitting in the dust bath area. She was scratching in the yard. She was not on her nest. I cautiously peeked into her nesting box and there was all of the eggs, except for the dark chocolately French Black Copper. It was gone. No sign of a shell, just gone. I squealed, she must have a baby under her in the yard, right?! My boy and I snuck up on her, super excited to see this new little addition. Only, there was no new little addition. There was no chick to be found.
The coop is solid. No animal got into it and took 1 egg from that broody girl. She was sitting on eggs on Friday morning, but by Sunday afternoon, the fertilized egg was gone. It is the Great Egg Mystery. No shell pieces to be found, no chick or feathers or remains to be seen. As for Broody Mama, she is totally broke of her broody spell. Scratching in the yard like nothing has happened. Meanwhile, we are just puzzled. What became of that beautiful chocolate egg? Did it ever hatch?
Has this ever happened to any of you? Broody Mama is no longer sitting on her clutch, the other unfertilized eggs are ready for disposal. Our moments of impending Spring Chicks has come and passed. There is always next year, but to say it wasn’t disappointing would be an understatement.