When we discovered that one of our French Black Copper Marans was broody we tried a few techniques to get her off the nest and when all failed we decided to give her some chicks. We waited until a fresh batch of day old chicks hatched out and carefully slid three chicks under her breast while she puffed up and told us what for.
We all held our breath and watched for a moment and then to our surprise and enjoyment the chicks started nuzzling up in her feathers, jumping around on her back and chirping at her while she clucked and started to guide them toward food – it was nothing short of magical!
It has been a month now and the chicks still follow her around the yard and nuzzle up to her at night.
Here on the farm our hens are secure in the coop at night but completely free range on pasture during the day. We built the ladies many nice nesting boxes but they seem to enjoy laying all willy nilly in our barn and in little secret spots around the field. While it may take a few more minutes to collect the eggs, our smallest farm hand is getting eggcellent practice for when easter rolls around the stakes involve stickers in plastic shaped eggs.
Here are some fun images of our ladies in action:
This little pearl leghorn loves to hide out and nest next to our straw bedding
While these eggs were left behind by one of our olive eggers and a rhode island red under a tarp that covers our alfalfa.
Thankfully many hands make light of the work that is collecting the days eggs:
Finally there is some science to backup what so many of us intuitively knew about the health benefits of eating farm fresh eggs!
Eggs from hens raised in situations where they can eat seeds, grass and bugs are far more nutritious than eggs from confined hens in factory farms. Research shows that eggs from hens raised on pasture have:
* 1/3 less cholesterol
* 1/4 less saturated fat
* more vitamin A
* 2 times more omega-3 fatty acids
* 3 times more vitamin E
* 7 times more beta carotene
* 4 to 6 times more vitamin D
Now hows that for some good news for all of us raising a flock of sweet ladies in our backyards? For more information on the study that produced these facts you can follow this link.
alchemist_farmFarm Fresh Pastured Eggs Are FAR Better For You Than Factory Farmed
Here is a fun image of the progression from egg to chick to full grown mating adults. We love working with the French Black Copper Marans because the roosters are so immaculately tame. Our Little Peddler Roo has never looked at me with a sideways eye and will let any of us pick him up for a love squeeze. If they escape out of the pasture the hens like to come up to the back door and look into the window to see if anyone will bring them treats.