If you are new here, you need to know that Lukka, our original Icelandic hen, is always broody. We are counting on her offspring for re-building our Icelandic flock. She had gone stir crazy caged up with her last babies, so I let her out and re-homed the babies. We now only had Isi and Lukka and it was up to them to re-populate our Icelandic flock, hopefully free of the feathering defect. Lukka laid a few eggs and then suddenly stopped. I could not imagine what had happened. I worried she was sick or laying internally or just done laying. The eight eggs in the incubator were my only hope to re-build my flock.
Then disaster struck about two weeks after she laid her last egg. Lukka disappeared! She was nowhere in sight. Had she died somewhere away from the coop? Had the heat gotten her? Had she fallen victim to a predator? Oh wait. I know. She has been laying a clutch of eggs somewhere in the pasture and now has enough to begin sitting. That had to be it. She’s always broody. It was the only explanation that made sense. Frantic to find her before a predator did, Michael and I searched for three days. We could not find her anywhere. We looked during the day and at night with a flashlight. I did a grid pattern search across the entire property looking under every rock and tree on the third morning. She was no where to be found and I was heartsick. I finished my chores with the other animals and then went to throw out some scratch for Isi and the layer hens. As I am doing so I look down and there’s Lukka. She’s eating scratch with the rest of the chickens! I made a plan to hide and watch her. I went to the donkey shelter and stood behind Jack. Lukka made her way to the waterer and filled up. I lost sight of her then. I stood still, knowing I needed to see where she went. It was early morning and after a couple of minutes the long shadow of a chicken appeared. I knew she was coming and I knew if she saw me she wouldn’t return to her nest. I stood stone-cold-still behind Jackson. She walked slowly looking from side to side as if she were on tip toes. She was heading for a little tree and a rock outcropping where I had searched already. She disappeared into the tall weeds. I waited several minutes to make sure she didn’t move then returned to the house.
Under the cover of darkness that night Michael and I returned to the scene of the crime.
We found her in the tall weeds in a little nest she had made.
Michael lifted Lukka off the nest and handed her to me. He then collected the dozen eggs she was sitting on. We moved her to the safety of the broody room in the barn on a nice nest and she settled right back down on her eggs. I candled the eggs before putting them in the nest and ten of the twelve were developing. We gave her back all ten of her eggs.
We are so happy to have her home. She is still on her eggs with only ten days to go until hatch. I have water and chicken feed in her reach and scramble an egg for her everyday. We almost lost her once to dehydration and malnutrition while brooding and I don’t want to take any chances. She’s a sweet girl and the mother of all broody hens!