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.