In mid May last year when one of our hens went broody I watched her for a day or two to see how serious she was. When she was still on the nest and still puffing up and holding her ground I let her have a dozen eggs to hatch.
The day before the hatch, as I was checking the eggs, I heard one of the chicks peep right through the shell. I ran into the house with it to let my boys listen. It was so exciting.
On the 21st day she hatched out 5 chicks. It was thrilling to watch.
She was a great mama. Here’s a photo of their first outing.
So, for me, the work load was nil. All of the previous times we’ve had baby chicks I’ve had to set up the brooder, monitor the temp, feed, water and clean. And then, invariably, I’d have to obtain a bigger brooder box as the chicks grew. And then sometimes there was the need to carefully integrate them into our existing flock. Whew! Never again! Mama does it much better 🙂
If you are interested in learning more about raising chicks here’s a great article on setting up a brooder or using a broody hen: Brooding Chicks: Two Options.