The Cottage Smallholder

stumbling self sufficiency in a small space

The Emerald Castle: update on Mrs Boss sitting on the Indian Runner duck eggs

emerald castle broody coopLast year Mrs Boss was the heroine of the Farming Friends and Cottage Smallholder Interblog breeding event. Four of her keets matured to replenish our local breeding stock, adding some good Yorkshire grit to our East Anglian strains. For the first time in years Mrs Boss was a happy bantam hen, absorbed by her flock and no longer bullied.

She rose from the bottom of the pecking order to a place where she didn’t care if she was pecked. She was so distracted by her adopted brood that she ignored the taunts. After a while the pecking and bullying diminished. As her brood grew she matched this in growth of status. I worried about what would happen when half her flock flew the nest.

Things changed pretty quickly when Marco and Gep left as she was left with the newly married guinea fowl couple and suddenly she moved from earth mother to gooseberry.

Within a few weeks she was broody again. The Chicken Lady sprang into the breech with the offer of Indian Runner duck eggs. Mrs Boss was happy to oblige.

There was a major problem. The Castle. This is the ark where we put a broody hen on a nest of eggs. Ideally a broody hen needs peace and quiet away from the rest of the flock when she is sitting on eggs. And a safe enclosed environment when the eggs hatch.

As you know, vermin were active this winter in the chicken run. Having repaired the castle, I gave it two coats of paint and gravelled the grounds. Sprayed and scrubbed the house and finally made the bounciest nest. I moved Mrs B and the six eggs in seconds.

She is has now been settled in the Emerald Castle for three days. She has taken the air, strolling in the castle grounds and is eating and drinking. She hops off the nest each morning when I proffer some wild bird seeds. Remember to shift your broody hens off the nest if they are sitting on eggs. It’s a great opportunity to check the eggs and your hen needs to be jogged out of her broody state to relieve herself and feed.

At the end of her 28 day stretch she will welcome and tend every creature that emerges from her adopted eggs. Duck or Martian, it’d make no difference to Mrs Boss. She’d care for them all.

  Leave a reply


  1. Hi there – thanks for your website. Very helpful and informative. Have just recently gotten into chickens and have built two coops. They are posted on my site. We have just put 8 fertilized eggs under one of our broody hens. Thanks.

  2. Fiona Nevile

    Hi Tania

    We loved your comment – it made Danny roar with laughter!

    We are looking forward to the arrival of the ducklings.

  3. Tania

    Aww, Mrs Boss is such a good mother! So, does this make you a granny then?!

  4. Fiona Nevile

    Hi Pat

    Mrs Boss is happy again!

    Hi amzi_chick100

    I’m blushing now!

    Hi KJ

    It is cosy and quiet. The perfect environment.

    Hi Sara

    Thunder and cloud say hello. Marco and Gep are doing well at the other end of the village!

    Hi Magic Cochin

    Yes she is in a happy dream – gradually getting more and more trance like.

    Hi Amanda

    They are great ducks, I’m not surprised that Small laughed and laughed.

  5. How lovely, she’d get an award if she was human.
    I’d love an Indian Runner Duck. We saw one in the vets a few months ago when a family brought one in. It was hilarious, very beautiful, and made Small laugh and laugh. He was still laughing when we got home and relayed the tale of the Indian Runner Duck to anybody who would listen.

  6. magic cochin

    Lovely Mrs Boss – I can just picture her patiently snuggled down over her eggs, in a contented dream.

    Keep us all posted with progress.


  7. farmingfriends

    Can’t wait for more updates.
    Best wishes to the lovely Mrs Boss and hello to the guinea fowl couple.
    Sara from farmingfriends

  8. It looks very cosy. Go Mrs Boss!!!

  9. amzi_chick100

    !! i just thought id randomly ‘pop in’ and say i love your blogs!!!!!!!!!!

  10. I expect Mrs. Boss is enjoying her time on the eggs. I can’t wait to see the new little ones.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

HTML tags are not allowed.

2,254,430 Spambots Blocked by Simple Comments

Copyright © 2006-2023 Cottage Smallholder      Our Privacy Policy      Advertise on Cottage Smallholder

Skip to toolbar