Guess who turned five yesterday?
She's come a long way since that day in 2009 when we picked her up at the feed store in Alexandria.
She's seen Santa more than once, not to mention the Easter bunny.
She loves to hang with her people.
She's not just a lap chicken, but also...
...a shoulder hen!
Her prime laying years are behind her, but we don't care.
She is one awesome chicken.
And even more amazing is what has happened over the past week or so.
Charlotte has gone broody!
This all started when we hatched out some chicks on Canada Day for my friend Pierre. Emma the Muff hen had abandoned the last few eggs on her nest (and that's another story; these eggs had five hens sitting on them in total, but Emma finally took over and is bringing up the babies; she has done this a few times now and is the best chicken mama ever!)
When Emma left, Charlotte took over. Two more chicks hatched out under her; she tended them lovingly until I stole them away to add to Emma's brood. But Charlotte continued to sit on the few dud eggs left behind.
Finally I turfed them before they could rot and explode, but Charlotte seemed so intent on being a mama that I got her three fresh eggs to sit on. We'll see if she sees this through!
It's a bit of a chickeny miracle that she has decided to become a mama after years of zero interest in the subject of motherhood, since she is a Sex-Links hen from a hatchery. These birds have had the broodiness bred out of them in favour of copious egg production. But it seems like having chicks under her for a couple of hours turned on a little switch in Charlotte's brain. Now she's exhibiting all the typical behaviours of a broody hen, such a puffing herself up on the nest and making little dinosaur noises when I dare to rifle around under her feathery breast.
So she's turned FIVE and is become and elderly mother all at the same time!
Happy birthday Charlotte, our best hen ever. May you have many more.