The Cottage Smallholder


stumbling self sufficiency in a small space

We may have new chicks in a few days time

hens with field hut

Hens Brittany and Vienna in front of broody Venice’s field hut and mini run

The field hut arrived in a flat pack from eBay a couple of weeks ago. I put it together quite easily and last night finally moved it into the chicken run for our broody hen. It’s not nearly as sturdy as the Pekin Pagoda which is a Rolls Royce of small chicken houses but that’s OK as it will only be used occasionally. It’s the perfect size for a hen and chicks or a retreat for a sick hen.

Two days after I ordered the field hut, Hope decided that she wasn’t going to be broody anymore. She has a sort of little girl’s skippy step and announced her withdrawal from broody hen duties by prancing around the chicken run in the sunshine.

“Bother.” I thought to myself. “That little monkey has tricked me again.”
There’s something sparkly about Hope that always makes me smile. She is the most independent hen.

I didn’t mind that the field hut had been ordered. An extra chicken home that is warm and dry is very handy for a chicken keeper. And it’s small enough to be kept in a shed when not in use.

A day or so later another of our hens went broody. Venice had holed up in the nesting box and was sitting on an assortment of seven eggs from our flock. I’m not sure whether any of these eggs had been fertilised but we decided to let Venice sit on them anyway. The first possible date for hatching is June 24th.

Venice is sleek and very beautiful. She lays large deep brown eggs and used to hang out with Florence until the latter met an early demise. It’s clear that the chicken fairy thought that she could get by on good looks alone as she doesn’t appear to have much up top in the brain department.

Last night I moved Venice and her clutch of eggs to the field hut. I let her out this morning as she decided to take a dust bath and then toured the chicken run before repairing back to the nesting box. Meanwhile the other hens had invaded her new sanctuary and were eating her food and drinking her water. Stolen food clearly tastes so much better in the chicken world.

I quickly took matters in hand, chased away the marauding hens and moved an indignant Venice back to the field hut. I made a temporary mini run out of our anti broody cage. She settled down immediately, nudging the eggs under her portly breast.

So now we have to wait and see if any of the eggs hatch. Between you and me I’d love to have tiny chicks at the cottage again and I think that Venice, like *most broody hens, wants the same too.

* Unfortunately not all hens make good mothers, so they have to be watched carefully when the chicks hatch out.


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2 Comments

  1. Nicola

    How exciting Fiona – we’ve not hatched any chicks ourselves but we have bought young chicks (6 weeks ish). It is so lovely to watch them grow.

  2. Anne Wilson

    Hope something hatches for you, we are waiting to see if our Jersey Giant hatches the eggs she’s sitting on, eggs due to hatch next week, 26th, if they do she’s in for a surprise as they are duck eggs.

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