Double Brood!

In the last few days, we’ve had two more Buff Orpington hens hatch out their broods. (For those curious, the other hen with chicks continues doing very well; all her chicks are fully feathered and thriving.) These two new hens went broody at the same time and made their nests right next to each other. Not surprisingly, their eggs all hatched together as well.

What’s fascinating is that the two hens are now co-brooding the eleven chicks between them. We’ve never seen this kind of behavior before. We’ve had one aggressive hen steal chicks from a passive hen, but never seen two hens cooperate and stick together to raise a brood. Hens are usually very territorial, and chase interlopers away. So, it’ll be interesting to see if they continue co-brooding, or if one gives up altogether, or if they split the brood and go their separate ways.
They emerged from the barn this morning with the eleven chicks, and went right to work foraging at the woodpile. Lots of bugs and worms there. (Note the chick to the far left has a worm in its beak.)
If you look closely at the photo below, you can see a worm in front of the white chick. One of the hens is trying to point it out and tear it up.
Here is a close-up of the fuzzy little chick working on that big worm, once he figured out what Mom was getting for him:

Finally, I’ll leave you with a short video of the two hens scratching up the dirt and the chicks going crazy for it. Interestingly, they are totally ignoring a bowl of high protein crumble that I put out nearby. These guys know where the really good stuff is.

I could sit out and watch them do this for hours.

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