This is the fourth time Speckles has gone broody and wanted to be a mother. The previous three times have been pretty unsuccessful. The first time the chicks refused to stay with her. I don’t know if she really knew what she was doing and she didn’t seem all that concerned with them.
The second time she went broody we gave her some fertile eggs that I had ordered online. Apparently they didn’t make it through shipping unscathed so they never hatched. Our Black Australorp had also gone broody at the same time (her eggs didn’t make it either) so I gave them both 2 chicks each. Our Australorp proved to be a phenomenal mother. Speckles, not so much. She just wasn’t very attentive to them at all and eventually abandoned them. Fortunately the Australorp took on the orphans and raised them with her own two.
The third time Speckles went broody was earlier this year. She was enamored by the large clutch of turkey eggs that Duke had amassed and decided she wanted to hatch them herself. Unfortunately Speckles was not quite big enough to cover a clutch of turkey eggs so I removed her from that nest and put her on her own nest with 4 turkey eggs for herself. Only one of them hatched and it had a congenital defect and didn’t make it.
Speckles was 0 for 4. When she went broody again (we’ve now had 4 broody hens in the last month) I was hesitant to give her eggs. David Bowie (one of our White Rocks) was sitting on a clutch that was a bit too large for her so I decided to take a chance and give Speckles some of her eggs. I’m glad I made that decision because David Bowie ended up breaking all but the two and those ended up not being viable. While Speckles’ eggs didn’t all hatch she did end up hatching out two very lively little chicks. It’s been a week now and she’s doing great with them. She’s showing them how to forage, she dotes on them and if one is lost she runs to it and brings it to where she is. The thing that amazed me the most though is how protective she is this time around. She even had the balls to attack Squeek who got too close. Of course Squeek, the super dog, didn’t react and just walked away, but I was put at ease that this time Speckles knew what she was doing.