Posted by: oceannah | June 30, 2012

Senior Moment for a Priceless Hen

henny penny iconic mama henMeet our iconic mama hen, Henny Penny.  She is a Buff Cochin/Brahma cross, very petite with feathered feet and a broodiness that got her bumped from two homesteads before she landed here…where we appreciate chicks raised by a real mama.

Henny Penny has lived with us for the past 6 years.  Before that she lived at a friends place for a year. The year previous to that she lived at the home of another family where she spent two years.  That makes Henny Penny at least 9 years old.  That is old for a chicken I’m told.

Every single year here on the homestead Henny Penny has raised at least one successful brood of young chicks.  Some years she does double duty.  This year back in the early part of Spring, Henny Penny took to the nest box.  Gone Broody.  Unfortunately, she would set a few days on her eggs and then somehow another hen would roust her out of the box and she’d forget where she was setting and set on another few eggs.  We attempted to remedy the situation by putting a big blue X on the a new batch of eggs that she had chosen.  This worked out for a week.  The other day, she was off the eggs and they were stone cold.  What to do?  She has no desire to give up setting, but she keeps forgetting where she was setting.  Our current plan is to just collect the eggs every day and hopefully, she will hop down in a bit.  Until then, we’ll leave some food and water nearby and make sure she gets a few extra strokes when we visit the hen house.  This is her retirement home, and we are thrilled to be her caregivers.

True, it’s not practical or cost effective to have a hen that does not lay.  However, some things just cannot be boiled down to dollars and cents.  We have a homestead…we make food here.  We butcher chickens here.  Henny Penny is not destined for that fate though.  After the first brood she raised here when my daughter was much younger and still enchanted with all things chicken-y, particularly little fluffy chicks, it was decreed that Henny Penny could NEVER be part of a family meal.  Her rooster offspring, fine.  Henny Penny will have her senior moments, and we will continue to be enchanted by her gentle calm demeanor.  A hen that allows children to reach under her and ‘play’ with her children is a treasure!  Many the 4H’er as well as other kids through the years have had their first experience with chickens courtesy of Henny Penny.  She is not a cost effective hen, Henny Penny is a priceless hen!


Linked up with:  The Ole’ Saturday Homesteading Trading Post # 28


  1. love her colouring and the fact that you treat her so well – she is one lucky old chick!

    • She’s a sweetie!

  2. A broody hen who shares her babes? She is indeed a treasure!
    As a kid, our neighbour had layers and many’s the time I remember trying to pick eggs out from under broody hens where we had to do a tag-team distraction to avoid getting pecked in the back of the hand. (Unfortunately these girls never got the chance to follow their heart’s desire like your lovely Henny Penny):

    • Yes, she doesn’t peck or on the rare occasion that she does, it’s a tap…not a hard peck, more of a ‘hey, don’t forget me’

  3. Very sweet!

  4. Love the thought of a dotty old hen. I don’t blame you, I’d keep her around for the character atmosphere too.

    • She’s got character in spades that’s true. I know you’re planning an extended ‘away’ who takes care of your critters?

      • My inlaws live next door, they’ll look after the horses. We didn’t end up getting any chickens this year. The cat is good on his own, and the dog comes with us. Plus, we’re only going to be away for 4-5 days. Soon!

      • Well done! Nice to have good animal care, makes any trip long or short so much easier. Enjoy your wonderful respite 🙂

  5. Wow, Anna! How long do hens live? She’s a gorgeous girl 🙂

    • You know Sandi, that is a mystery to me…I have multiple hens who did not live anywhere near 9 years, I think HP is a VERY elderly hen indeed.

  6. Anna she is beautiful! I understand not always following the rule of getting rid of an old hen….she is just slightly suffering from chicken dementia. I can hear the love you have for her in this post! Thanks so much for linking up to “The Ole’ Saturday Homesteading Trading Post” this week!

    • Thanks so much for hosting 🙂 it’s always fun to stop by the trading post.

  7. Iconic Mama LOL

    • 🙂 She’s a keeper

      • I don’t blame you;)

      • haha 🙂

      • LOL

  8. I adore this story about your priceless Henny Penny! And I adore YOU for being her kind ‘caretaker’. Thanks for such a delightfully heartwarming sharing of your life on the homestead. Hugs, Gina

    • Awww Gina, you’re too sweet! HP is a treasure of a hen indeed.

  9. This hen has given me an idea for “Late Bloomer.” Stay tuned!

    • Cant’ wait.

      • You know how I have the animated critters in my show? Well, I’ve decided to have a recurring character, a hen. Her name is Maxine, and she’s a bit of a klutz, easily distracted, but she lays a lot of eggs. Occasionally one gets away…. She will make her first appearance in one week.;)

      • TOO CUTE!

  10. I’m thinking a lot about Henny Penny. How’s she doing? I added the new “Blogs I Follow” widget to my blog (see bottom of one of my blog posts), but, Oceannah is not there, and I don’t know why.

    • Hey Kaye, funny you should ask about Henny Penny….the beginning of the week she finally!!! hopped out of the nest box (perhaps in disgust or just weariness) and is now roaming the yard with the other hens again….must be nice to stretch her elderly legs a bit. She is the only hen allowed to sleep in the nest boxes. What a sweetie.
      I haven’t a clue about the blogs i follow ? I don’t have the widget. My blog roll has to be input by me…which is sorely in need of an update. I suppose you could just re-click my follow button…or are you on email follow? Maybe that’s it. If it’s a widget and you click the follow button for wp users maybe that’s what show up in the BIF thing?!? Not sure. Good luck.

  11. […] Senior Moment for a Priceless Hen ( Share this:TwitterStumbleUponFacebookLike this:LikeBe the first to like this. […]

  12. […] beloved Henny Penny and two of our baby chicks were carted off by a predator.  This is the firstpredator attack we […]

  13. […] […]

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