Broody hen, but just one chick

We’re looking after a friend’s hens again this week. When he went away, he left two broodies sitting in nestboxes, so we’ve been keeping a close eye. One abandoned her eggs without a single one hatching. She was being pestered by other hens getting in with her and laying further eggs, which we think might be the cause. Or it might be the recent bitterly cold nights. The other hen was a little more successful:

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She actually hatched two chicks, one black and one yellow. You can see the darker chick in this picture taken a couple of days ago:

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But she was sitting on far too many eggs. Again, other hens had been into her nestbox and laid more eggs around her. In the end there were over two dozen! That’s a good argument for transferring the broody to her own secure house and run.

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Alas, the yellow chick didn’t make it. It escaped from the warmth of mum’s feathers, and I found it dead of cold yesterday. But the remaining chick is alive and well.

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