Want to Have a Baby? Just Adopt.

We’ve all known at least one couple who has tried forever to have a child then finally given up and adopted — only to find themselves pregnant shortly thereafter!

I don’t know what this odd sequence of events might be called, and my theory is not based on scientific evidence, but I’m pretty sure this amazing phenomenon applies to chickens too.

Two of the Foreign Adoptees

I have a hen, Blondie, who has been “setting” on the nest for six weeks trying to have a baby.  The normal setting time is 21 days, or 3 weeks, and hens go into a zen-like meditation experience during this time, only getting up occasionally to take a hasty bite and drink in order to survive. I think it’s kind of like hibernation for a bear.

After 6 of Blondie’s 7 eggs suddenly disappeared in the third week  (a snake, we’re sure), she was not deterred. She simply moved her egglet to another spot, added another egg (of her own or someone else’s, I do not know), and went back to setting.

The weather was very hot. I feared for her welfare. But she told me point blank that she was not going to give up. I didn’t even know if her two eggs were fertile, but even if they were I knew they were not due to hatch any time soon.

So after a friend found small batches of baby chicks online for a somewhat reasonable price (some places wanted $95 to ship 5 chicks, the chicks costing about 3 bucks a piece!!!), she and I placed an order for 4 chicks each. Wyandottes, which would be dark fuzzy little things. I knew Blondie wouldn’t care what color they were. After all, adopting children from foreign countries seems to be all the rage these days.

I kept my fingers crossed that Blondie wouldn’t give up after all, which would mean I’d have to raise the chicks myself.

She was true to her word and was still setting when the chicks arrived through the postal service, just 1 or 2 days old, alive and well. It was six weeks to the day since Blondie had taken on this project.

In accordance with standard procedure for such things, I waited until after dark, snuck into the hen house, and carefully shoved the 4 little fledglings in under Blondie’s plump body. She pecked at me once, but then seemed to realize a miracle was occurring, so rose up and tucked the youngsters in amongst her feathers.

All went according to plan and the next morning there were four dark, foreign babies hopping all around Blondie, using her body as a jungle gym and pecking at baby food. I checked them twice more during the day and all was well. The other hens were bubbling about, obviously excited about the new arrivals, and Mr. Smarty Pants, our rooster, was keeping a safe distance but clearly guarding the nursery.

Late in the day, at the evening horse feeding, I went in one last time to make sure everyone was all right. I only saw two chicks so was slightly alarmed. I wanted to make sure nothing had gotten the others so I gently prodded Blondie to stand up so I could make sure the rest of the brood were underneath.

You guessed it. Not only were the two missing chicks there, but one other as well — a tiny, few-hours-old, fuzzy yellow sibling, just hatched! I just started laughing!

The New Arrival

I guess Blondie knew what she was about after all, and the arrival of the adoptees just spurred along the natural processes.

Now we’ll see what happens with that last egg. Blondie is taking good care of her brood, but she is still setting ……….

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2 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Crazy Bobbi Jones, Bobby Whitetail, Alan Joel, Stephanie Yeh, Leta Worthington and others. Leta Worthington said: Want to Have a Baby? Just Adopt.: We’ve all known at least one couple who has tried forever to have a child then f… http://bit.ly/cPmQs0 […]

  2. 2

    Madalyn said,

    Leta,
    Chickens are so fun. I had a similar experience with one of mine that set on eggs forever. I had the old eggs in my hands to throw them out when my inner voice said leave them alone. Sure enough, one hatched that night. Madalyn


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