One of our lovely standard-bred heritage Mottled Javas is a new mother! Having a broody (a chicken showing mothering behaviors) hatch eggs was a new adventure for the chicken and for us.
The eggs were incubated in the house while I watched the broody pullet to make sure that she would stay on a nest of eggs. Some chickens give up partway through the three-week incubation period and stop keeping the eggs warm. Once I was sure she would stay the course, she was moved to a condo cage in the garage and the eggs from the incubator were put under her shortly before hatch date.
Only one of the three eggs hatched out, but she is proud as can be anyway. And she’ll let people know if they are getting too close to her little fluffball. It’s funny to see the chick dive into Momma Chicken’s feathers and watch its little chick feet disappear. They even get a ventriloquist act going with the chick peeping and cheeping while hiding in Momma’s chest feathers.
Many chickens, especially hatchery stock, have had broodiness (the desire to sit on eggs and hatch them) bred out of them. For a dual-purpose homestead bird like the Java, broodiness is a trait to be celebrated and encouraged when possible. So far this experiment with a broody has been successful and we plan to utilize it in the future. As well as continue to breed for broodiness, to help keep our Javas close to what a good, old-fashioned homestead bird should be.
Mottled Java Momma and baby in the broody condo.
New baby checking out Momma while she has a bite to eat.
The Java chicks we hatched last month are growing like weeds. With the strange non-winter weather we have had this season, the chicks were able to spend some time outside even though they are still growing in feathers to keep warm.
No fair! How come the big chickens get to run around loose in the pasture?
Dude, she’s watching us. Quit pecking at the ground like a chicken.
Did you get my good side?
Exactly 21 days from the time we put eggs into the incubator, 3 fluff balls were born! Absolutely amazing to watch a food (eggs) turn into a chick. Four of the eggs were apparently infertile – we broke them open to determine why they didn’t hatch. But the 3 eggs that did hatch are now week old chicklets living in our bathroom.
The first chicks born here on the farm – just a few hours old and drying off in the incubator.
Now that we’ve figured out how our spiffy new incubator works, we’ll hopefully be starting in earnest to hatch more Javas once the egg production picks back up again. (Egg production generally drops in winter with the short days unless artificial lighting is added to the coop.)
The mostly yellow chick on the right is a Mottled Java. The other two have more black on them and they will grow to be Black Javas. Of course we had a few chicksn that grew to be non-standard colors called “sport” colors, so these chicks could end up with the even more rare Auburn coloring or the gold coloring that runs in the Mottled flock if they carry those genes from their parents.