Home » Keeping Animals

Missing Hen Returns With Chicks

21 February 2011 7 Comments

We recently had a hen go missing. We’re not sure exactly when she disappeared, but for a few weeks she hasn’t been returning to the chook run at night, and we weren’t able to find her anywhere around the yard.

I figured maybe a fox, dog, eagle or snake might have gotten her, although there were no signs of a struggle or scattered feathers anywhere. I knew it was possible she might have found a hiding place to sit on some eggs, but I didn’t think it likely.

Turns out I was wrong!

On Saturday, we were walking around the yard deciding where to plant a few new trees. I noticed a tiny little animal scurry into the cover of a sweet potato vine, and thought it was a mouse or an injured bird. When we approached to investigate, the hen ran out to protect it and we realised it was a newly-hatched chick.

She had four chicks with her. They were tiny, and could only have been a day or so old.

The hen is a cross between an ISA Brown mother and a Barnevelder father. She turned out with a very pretty brown and cream banding, and lays lovely chocolatey-brown eggs. The father of these chicks was our Light Brahma rooster. The cunning blighter managed to sneak in one last clutch before we dispatched him!

I love the three cute little butts in this picture!

I checked the area near where we found the little family, and found her nesting place right in underneath a huge lemongrass bush. She must have been well-protected from the elements in there (we’ve had both pouring rain and scorching heat over the last three weeks!), and obviously no predators found her.

Build your own chicken coop in 3 days.


  • Dirt Gently said:

    Hen and brood are adorable! And respect to the rooster: a player till the end.

  • Darren (author) said:

    @Dirt Gently: He was a full-time player – he never knew that his end was coming :-).

  • Belinda said:

    soooo cute, we always get day old chicks from the hatchery to put under our broody hens as we are not allowed to keep a rooster! The kids love it!

  • Greenfumb said:

    What a lovely story, those chicks look gorgeous, what an unusual combination.

  • Darren (author) said:

    @Belinda: That’s a great idea, too. I’ve supplied a few friends with fertile eggs to put under their broodies, and the kids love the excitement of watching them hatch. Both are good alternatives if you’re not able to keep a rooster.

  • Darren (author) said:

    @Greenfumb: I’m glad the story had a happy ending! Almost all our young chickens now are crossbreeds, so we have a very motley crew.

  • Brendan said:

    So exciting all the chicken talk – have started plans for our own chicken coop here and am working on it each weekend. love the little chicks for broody hens idea.