We thought our Barred Rock Hen was a bad mother when she abandoned her first clutch of 10 when they were pretty small. It turns out she was back to work on her second nest. It’s in the same spot as the previous nest right next to the house and they should be hatching within the next week. The plan will be to scoop her and the eggs up one night before they hatch. Her new home will be a dog crate inside the coop so she’ll have her own private quarters within the coop.
In the meantime, she stays on the nest 24/7 and only gets off of it once every couple of days to get some food and water. When that happens, she lets out some very distinctive clucking: “I’m off the nest, can’t leave the eggs very long but I need food and water and I need it NOW!”. That’s my cue to run outside and make sure there is some food put out so she doesn’t have to jump over the fence to get back into the chicken yard. I usually make an effort to give her some treats and extra rations too so she goes back to the nest full until the next time.
Luckily, the chicks from her first clutch have grown like weeds and are getting along fine. At this point they are almost as big as some of the smaller hens. I’m glad they made it this far, as they seemed too small to be on the own without Mom to protect them and show them food. We’re looking forward to the new chicks and of course more of those big beautiful brown eggs!