We've had chickens for 5 years and this was the first time I've had one become broody (which means wanting to sit on the nest and raise babies). Well, I take that back. I've had other hens act a little broody - but I just threw them off the nest and after a couple days they gave up.
This chicken was in it for the long haul. She wasn't giving up. So, I gave her 3 fertilized eggs and let her sit. Then, she laid one of her own for a total of 4 eggs.
The odd thing is this broody hen is really only a teenager. She's one of the "Mongrel" chicks we hatched in an incubator this spring. She's only 7 months old, so I was a bit surprised when she showed the signs.
We waited around for the 21 days and then we started watching. Finally, yesterday, the first baby hatched. Mama hen was very upset whenever we tried to look. She'd growl at us, but let us take little peeks.
However, this morning when we came in she was a bit more defensive and tried to bite us when we touched her. She did not want us looking.
Since she was up high in a nest box we had to move her and the babies to a special spot where she could raise them alone safely.
Imagine our delight when we found not one but all four eggs hatched! A myriad of colors. And for some strange reason I feel like a grandma! Maybe it's just her success has gone to my head! (I wonder if next time I'll feel like a great-grandma.)