Day 33 of 365
We have two more hens trying to go broody. One is Silver, who is, perhaps, the most beautiful chicken I have ever seen. The other is Juliet, who is my favorite chicken who does whatever she wants whenever she wants. We really do not need another broody hen, but maybe Juliet could sit on an egg or three, right? I mean, it’s not like I have the heart to deny Juliet anything.
All of these broody hens had me thinking about my original broody hen. She passed away recently, right before I started this blog in May, and I can’t believe how much I miss her. She was one of our original Rhode Island Reds, one of the chickens who made me a chicken mama, and in the year before we got our rooster, she went broody. I didn’t even know what a broody hen looked or acted like. But they lay flat on eggs in “pancake” mode, as I call it, and they growl and fuss and fight to stay in the nest and keep whatever eggs they are sitting on. None of our other Rhode Island Reds had ever gone broody, and over time, our little broody hen just became “Broody Hen.” I fed her grapes at night while I took the eggs from under her, and we became best good friends.
When Broody Hen was about five years old, we had a rooster when she went broody for the second time, and she got to be a mama. She was the best, sweetest mama ever. She just seemed to treasure all of it, but she never went broody again.
After that, Broody Hen was just “the special,” and like Juliet today, she did whatever she wanted whenever she wanted. She was also famous. She helped me give online presentations about chickens (she could work the crowd, I swear), and her story was published in a magazine once.
She was very vocal and talked a lot. I found out near the end of her life that she had a special call that was just for me. It was her name for me. She was just a week shy of 8 years old when she passed. She had been winding down for about a year. I remember thinking she would not make it through the winter last winter, but she did. But in the spring, she was so tired. Just so tired.
She was top of the pecking order, being one of the last two original hens, and I loved to watch her with her people. She had a good, long life, with her flock and with me, but I am without her now. It is the worst.
I don’t know why I felt so compelled to tell a bit of her story today. The broody hens remind me of her, of course, but earlier in the week, I was giving scraps the flock and missed hearing her voice so much I just cried. She was a foodie too. I mean, they all are, I guess, but Broody Hen was extra.
She was extra everything.