We reached a new milestone on our mini homestead in October. We had one of our mature female bantams become broody and lay a nest for about 10 to 14 days before abandoning her eggs.
This was amazing to experience. I have seen pictures and read a little bit about birds all of a sudden deciding to make a nest and hatch chicks, but I really didn’t expect it to happen so soon here on our homestead. One of our female bantams wouldn’t go into the chicken coop at night, she would disappear during the day and wouldn’t show up to be put up for the night. Then she would pop up in the middle of the afternoon, eat some of the corn scratch in our driveway, and dissapear again. After the third day we knew for sure she had to have been sitting on some eggs, but we did’t have a clue as to where she could be doing this at.
Then after about the 5th day or so I found a bantam egg while I was doing evening chores in some heavy Oklahoma rain, we had about 3 days of this heavy rain by this time. The egg was just laying on the ground next to our garage and I thought it was the other bantam because she had layed an egg in the middle of the coop the day before. So I thought it was just what she did now, lays eggs in weird places and animals must have been taking her eggs in the night because I never find her eggs if she doesn’t lay them in the coop.
However, the next day I found another egg in the evening in the same place and I thought this is too much of a similarity without a reasonable causation. So I began looking around pretty intensely in the area and found the nest.
The bantam had begun kicking out eggs that she didn’t believe would survive.
Now, after this second occurrence she stayed on her nest for another 3 days leaving all her eggs with her. She didn’t kick anymore out. Then we had a freeze warning and our temperatures went below 30 at night for the first time. She must have decided that her eggs hadn’t survived the cold of the night because the following day she abandoned the nest.
That following night she wanted to be put in the coop at night, and I didn’t let her. I wanted to make her try to sit on her nest one more time. But it was no use. The next day she stayed away from the nest and near the chicken coop and slept in the coop that night.
She officially abandoned her eggs in between 10 – 14 days gestation. A typical chick gestation period is 21 days. We almost had 7 new bantam chicks if they were to have all hatched and survived.
A new experience in Life and Death on the Farm.