Meet 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