Hens that are broody or incubating eggs usually do not want any other hens near them. They especially do not want any other chickens around after new babies hatch. They are VERY protective and puff up and chase away anyone who dares to come near the little ones. Gertie and Violet have an understanding and are raising 3 little chicks cooperatively. Gertie is one of our original hens and has gone broody each year but we have never allowed her to hatch babies. This year she was not taking “no” for an answer and moved in on Violet as she was setting on a nest of 8 eggs. Violet did not object and the two of them shared nesting duties for most of the 3 weeks it takes for chicks to develop. We were very curious to see how things would go once babies actually arrived and thought there might be some trouble.

Three of the eggs hatched on Saturday 7/14/12. The momma hens continued to cooperate and care for the babies together! One would continue to incubate the remaining eggs while the other would attend to the babies. The other eggs were either infertile or just did not develop properly for some reason and were abandoned after a few days. All that work sitting on those eggs constantly for 3 weeks and 5 did not hatch – what a shame. Gertie and Violet seem very happy with their new chicks, though and it is so cute watching both of them teach the babies all the secrets of being a good chicken.