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This is Jenny. She went so hard broody one summer that I bought some fertilized eggs for her to sit on.

It takes 21 days to incubate eggs and, being an inexperienced chicken hatcher, it was 21 days before I figured out they were all duds. Three weeks of staring at the chicken cam waiting for something to happen. Which occasionally it did (like here, where Jenny entertained a mouse).

Mostly it was just a hen sighing and staring into the distance.

I felt so bad for her (and myself) I asked a chicken keeping buddy to sell me some eggs that were almost ready to hatch. I put them under Jenny and hatch they did. This is where Millie, Sam and Mo came from.

Baby chicks with a mother hen are hilarious. They move around up inside the down next to her body and you’ll see a little head poke out from just about anywhere. It’s surreal.

As they get older, they continue to sleep under her wings until eventually she’s sleeping stretched out on a giant platform of small chickens. Jenny put up with it well beyond the point she should have kicked them out. She wasn’t getting any decent sleep, so one night I felt bad for her and put her in the old pen with her buddy Colette.

Late that night, there was a terrific squawking and we ran out to find a panicky fox trapped inside the old run. I later worked out he’d knocked the bottom out of the nest box with his head (who knew they weren’t screwed on?), got into the run and couldn’t get out again.

What do? I didn’t have a gun, I couldn’t really beat him to death with a hoe and I was worried about any chickens that might still be inside. Soooo, I let him out.

There was nothing whatever left of Jenny. Not a feather. Not a toenail. Not an unpleasant stain. I honestly can’t understand how that could possibly be, but it was.

Colette was fine. Shook up, so I brought her inside for the night, but she lived another year or more.

May 20, 2020 — 7:59 pm
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