Farm Farm

Chow Mein’s Broody

This is Chow Mein. She is a Black Tailed White Japanese bantam chicken that my friend Sue gave to me. I just love her. She’s a pure white with a beautiful black-tipped tail that stands very erect.

A bantam chicken means that she is a small variety. They lay tiny eggs that aren’t even the size of a standard “large” egg. I use two bantam eggs to equal one normal egg, I have had great experiences with Bantam chickens and love their small stature. Some of my favorite chickens have been bantams.

She is a survivor. When my goats left for their summer “goatcation” at my friend Kelly’s house while I went to Wyoming for the summer last year, my entire flock was killed within a week by either a fox or a raccoon. We don’t know what it is about the goats; whether they physcially ward off predators or just their scent keeps the local predators at bay, but since I’ve gotten my goats my predator loss has been zero; an unexpected bonus that I’d never heard about.

Somehow during this massacre Chow Mein was the only one to survive. We didn’t know this at the time though. My daughter, Amanda, who was home working for the summer, saw her several times over a couple of weeks but never was able to catch her to feed or contain her. Jim saw her once or twice as well but never for long. When I returned to Connecticut at the end of August I got several calls from neighbors that she’d been spotted right around the corner regularly. Sure enough, she had made her new home in the wooded area of a neighbor’s yard. Somehow she had survived two months completely on her own and was looking quite well. We tried every few days to capture her, but every time we tried, she would fly way up into a tree completely out of reach. Now chickens don’t really have a lot of flight capabilities and are technically considered flightless birds. They can catch a little air and fly very short distances, but Chow Mein was really flying (for a chicken) a great distance — high into the trees at night to avoid predator attack. It was really quite remarkable.

Although the goats had returned I did not yet have any chickens and thought I would just leave her be until I got some new ones. Shortly after my return I did find about 9 adolescent chickens that somebody was looking to get rid of. Once I had them settled in my kids and I went over to her new wooded home and after lots of running around and tree climbing I did manage to catch her and bring her back home. I really thought that it would take several days of her leaving to go back to the woods before she settled back into her coop, but she seemed more than delighted to be back with a flock and rarely leaves the confines of the fenced area. Nor does she let her diminutive size let her get pushed around; she completely holds her ground with the big girls.

Recently Chow Mein has become “broody”, which means that she wants to hatch some eggs. Now this is a natural thing for chickens to do, but I haven’t had too many that get broody. One of my favorite other bantam chickens, Mrs. Pocket, was also an extremely broody girl.

Unfortunately, because we don’t have a rooster, our eggs are not fertile. Chow Mein could sit on these eggs forever and they will never hatch into chicks. She doesn’t know this though. Anytime she lays an egg she gathers it into her “clutch”, and any time any other chicken lays an egg she rolls it right under her and adds it to the clutch. This afternoons count had it up to 13 eggs. Now a bantam chicken is not capable of laying on 13 bantam sized eggs, let alone a mixture of bantam eggs and full-size hen eggs. This does not seem to deter her though.

Chow Mein is collecting every egg laid in the coop and trying to stuff them under her little bantam body without much success.

I moved her off of them to much cooing protest today just to show you how many eggs she it attempting to cover.

That's a lot of eggs!

Once I let her go she gently rolls them all back under her as best she can.

She gently rolls them back under her.

I don't know how she's managing it, but somehow she's covering all 13 eggs.

It’s breaking my heart to know that all of this setting will produce no chicks. I got on eBay yesterday and managed to find some Japanese Bantam eggs that I won. When they arrive I will take these eggs out from under her and replace them with the fertile ones. It will be so much fun to see her with her hatch her own little chicks!



  1. can’t wait to read the next chapter and see the chicks. She’s beautiful.


  1. […] a regular basis. She is one tough chicken and she’s become a bit famous in our home. She also became broody early this spring and was determined to hatch unfertilized eggs, rolling as many as she could under her tiny body. I […]

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