On May 17th, our brooding black Sumatra hens hatched out a large clutch of chicks together, as a team. They had went broody almost simultaneously in a nest box together, and the chicks hatched over a two day period, during the warm parts of each day, beginning in the very late morning or in the early afternoon and wrapping up each evening. The hens began teaching the young chicks to drink water and forage for food immediately after they hatched and began toddling around, and the hens are decidedly proactive about protecting their young chicks, often offering a unique challenge to the keepers of the flock who frequently visit to refresh water dishes, offer snacks, and spend time with the birds. So far, the black Sumatra hens have been great moms, and this has been the best incubating and brooding experience we’ve had! The hens do all the hard work, and they do it better than we could ever dream of doing it.
The chicks these hens have hatched were from fertile eggs gathered in our latest breeding project, crossing an amazing black Sumatra rooster with three black Sumatra hens, two black Orpington hens, and a black Orpington x Ameraucana hen who was hatched in an incubator on our homestead last spring. We are excited to have hen-hatched chicks growing up here, understanding the ways of our homestead, learning all they can learn from our mature flock from the very first opportunity.