Farmer Thinks Hen Laid Eggs, Comes Closer And Sees What She's Protecting 

As he approached the straw nest box he considered how to reach underneath the squawking, protective chicken, his hand closed around something soft. It took him a moment to realize that it definitely wasn’t an egg.

But when he finally coaxed the angry hen off her brood, he couldn’t believe his eyes. What was underneath the mother hen was nothing that he could have ever imagined.

Having kept some fabulous fowl in my own backyard I can say with utter confidence that they are by far the most entertaining pets. Sure cats and dogs can do cute or silly things, but chickens truly take the cake.

But one farmer found a chicken that was doing something completely out of character. And he wasn’t the only one who was watching her closely.

Minerva Louise was one such chicken. It was said that you could honestly cancel Netflix and just watch her do her thing around the garden, taking a sand bath at noon, or running around like a, erm, headless chicken after a fly or other little bug that is invisible to the human eye.

Life is never boring on a farm, but it was about to become a lot more interesting in a way no one could ever have predicted.

She had always been a strange little creature that for the most part preferred to live in her own little world without any concern or interest in people whatsoever... unless you happened to have a morsel of food with you. She became a shameless beggar and was not above a little theft if you weren’t careful.

Her strange demeanor was tolerated because she was the best egg layer, a fantastic trait... or was it?

Besides the entertainment value of having a couple of feathery friends out back, chickens also have one very obvious redeeming quality – they can be prolific egg layers. And prolific Minerva Louise was popping out an egg almost every single day.

Only, there was just one problem with that --which the farmer would find out soon enough.

In the warmer months, you had better be sure to take those eggs out of the nest and into your kitchen. Leaving them for even a day or two will cause month-long turmoil, mostly for you. Eggs are laid to be hatched into fluffy little chicks, but no rooster means no hatching and no chicks...

ever. But just try telling Minerva Louise that. She had other ideas.

The farmer watched her as she dutifully she sat upon her clutch, clucking, and trilling. If he dared to come too close she would scream at him; clearly like a tantrum or hissyfit.

This was combined with the fluffed up and evil look was clearly designed to keep everyone, friend or foe, away. But he knew something needed to be done.

He knew that the eggs were destined never to hatch and wondered what he could do to encourage her to get off the nest for good? A compromise between man and chicken must be sought. He gave her a week to sit and fluff and faff with her eggs, and then before they went rotten they were removed one by one.

Each day her clutch got smaller. Strangely she didn’t seem to notice, but why was that?

Minerva had always been a stubborn chook. Clearly she was feigning ignorance, or perhaps she was in denial because she kept right on sitting on her nest, waiting for those invisible eggs to hatch. Stumped with what to do next an exercise in brainstorming was needed.

In that time something peculiar was happening in the hen house. Something else that shouldn’t have been in the hen house was getting closer.

Not knowing why his hen was getting more upset than usual at him approaching her nest, the farmer went to investigate. As he worked up the courage to approach her he heard a sound that made him stop dead. Curiosity replaced his fear as he took the risk of being pecked, lifting the hen just enough to slip his hand under her.

It took him a moment to realize that it definitely wasn’t an egg he was feeling. What was underneath the mother hen was simply unbelievable.

All along there had been a predator keeping a close eye on Minerva. What it saw was a perfectly warm clean straw bed and decided it was a perfect opportunity...

to birth a litter of kittens, that is! Sometime after the new babies were dry and warm mom must have left to find a meal, and it wasn’t long before Minerva seized upon the opportunity of a lifetime.

Mewing for the warmth of their mother and searching through the mounds of straw were four newborn kittens. They began following the sound of the crooning wannabe mother hen until eventually, they found their way to the warmth under her fluffy wings.

And she did absolutely nothing to stop them. Everyone’s confusion began right here.

The mother cat's surprise must have been even greater than the flabbergasted farmer, for when she got home this rather protective hen had stolen all of her babies.

Eventually, as cute as the situation was, the farmer knew he would have to intervene just a little bit because as great a mother as Minerva was being, real mother cat had to actually feed the little kittens.

The only compromise Minerva grudgingly agreed to was an interesting interspecies co-parenting effort. Momma Minerva seemed to try to keep everyone warm, even the mother cat herself.

Everyone seemed fine with the arrangement for a while, but just as soon as she appeared the cat was gone, taking her litter with her. Strangely Minerva was not particularly upset.

No longer broody, she rejoined the rest of the flock and the farmer will be extra careful about egg removal in the future. Still, he wondered if Minerva was just an oddball or if this was a decidedly chickeny thing to do.

Turns out it was the latter.

Now clearly some of these animals did not find their way into a broody hens nest by mistake. It turns out that people have been using hens' crazy and focused need to hatch eggs for a variety of other bird types. Ducklings, especially, seem to be a popular cross parenting experience. Pigeons, well, however she got a hold of these babies is a complete mystery.

It seems unlikely that a human would have left these eggs to incubate under a heavy hen. Those eggs are super thin and fragile. Perhaps they were fledglings needing a foster mom, either way, she wasn’t picky.

Once again a bird that more than likely wasn’t put under a broody hen by any human hand. Another wild baby, probably stolen, when it started to learn how to fly or simply fell out of the nest.

A very hungry and demanding Jackdaw.

If broody chickens aren’t scared of a cat then what would make them scared of a baby rhea? These chicks are related to the enormous ostrich.

Even as hatchings they almost outsize their adoptive mother, this time, in particular, she doesn’t even attempt to keep them under her wing, there was no chance of them really fitting anyway.

But bigger even than a rhea is this crazy chicken trying to hatch a Labrador puppy. This must be a delusional chicken to even go down the road of thinking that this could in any way be her progeny.

Pup seems pretty content, though.

More big babies that will very quickly outgrow their foster mom.

These Rottweiler-type pups were put in a cute basket for a photoshoot when this hen, who had been saved from the pot, decided to hop up and claim them as her own.