The Little Hen That Couldn’t


The banty is sitting.
And sitting.

And sitting.
She’s wanted to sit on a nest all her life. Back when she was a teenage chicken, she picked out her favorite nesting box and started sitting. The other chickens would roost at night and she would sit in the box. When the other hens went out dancing, she would sit in the box. The other hens played volleyball and learned to tat and she sat in the box.

The other hens said she was one feather short of a full nest, and she said, “I AM A MOTHER HEN! AM TOO.” She didn’t care if they made fun of her.
And then finally she laid three little eggs in her box and she could sit all day, day after day! She was going to be a mother now! She’d show them.

Only it’s been nearly a month. There’s nothing in those eggs.

And she won’t stop sitting.

Somebody needs to tell her the truth. Somebody needs to get her up off that nest. Somebody needs to tell her she might as well go dancing. I feel kinda bad about it, though. She wants to be a mother so bad! Maybe I can get somebody else to tell her.

Pocahontas: “Can I have all the licorice treats in the jar if I tell her?”
Annabelle: “Do you want me to tell her she’s a dog? We don’t sit on nests.”
Representative from the Pond District: “We would like for ALL of the chickens to sit in boxes forever. Thank you.”
Clover: “She should stay there. I completely understand. I’m a mother, too.”
Giant Puppy: “Do I get to eat the eggs if I get her off them?”
I can’t get any cooperation around here.
Maybe you could tell her???


  1. Melinda says:

    Love your site! That’s sad about Little Hen. No babies. Can you give her a good egg or two to sit on? Reach under her, remove the unfertile eggs and replace them with a couple of fertile ones.

  2. Amy Detweiler says:

    There are few things more determined than a broody hen, perhaps a broody duck…

  3. Gail says:

    How cute! Let the little banty sit if it gives her pleasure. I’d try Melinda’s suggestion and slip some fertile eggs under her and let her be a momma!

  4. Shelly says:

    Poor thing,give her some flax seed oil, maybe that would help.

  5. Box Call says:

    bacc bacc bacc bacckkkk bacckkk baccccc baccc, BACCCCC!

    Sorry to break the news but someone must.

  6. Christine says:

    Aww, poor thing. I’ve got three on nests now. I’m afraid it will be the same story. You have to admire their determination though.

  7. Julie says:

    Poor little thing. That’s pitiful!

  8. jane says:

    Children’s Books

  9. Snapper says:

    Awww….poor ‘lil momma wanna be!
    (Suzanne, do you know how to tat? I have all the stuff, but loaned/gave it to my sister.)

  10. Jenny says:

    Try giving her a couple good eggs. She won’t care whose they are. Just mark the eggs with a little x or something in case the other hens still like to lay in her box like mine do when there’s a sitting hen. I have a hen raising two guineas right now that she hatched. Before I could get the guinea eggs under her, she was sitting quite determinedly on golf balls. (Is that where golf clubs come from?) Banties are supposed to make very good mothers.

  11. Cyndi L. says:

    Heavy Sigh… I feel for that poor little girl. 😥 I really would try to slip some “good” eggs under her.

  12. Jenny says:

    Poor little banty. I could just give her a cuddle for all her hard efforts.

  13. Bev says:

    Give that poor girl a couple good eggs…she deserves to be a momma.

  14. Runningtrails-Sheryl says:

    YOu could give her some eggs to sit on that will hatch. They don’t have to be banty’s wither. She will be a good mother and raise any thing that hatches. Do you have some other big chicken eggs that might be fertilized you can put under her? She doesn’t know what week it is either. If you do it at night she’ll never notice the difference. She can’t count, so you can give her 6-8 fertilized eggs to sit on and hatch for you. You don’t need an incubator.

    Wouldn’t it be the sweetest thing to see a mother hen running around the yard with babies under her wing, teaching them about life?

  15. Nancy in Atlanta says:

    744444444444444 (oops – that was Emma typing) Poor little Miss Banty – she just felt her biological clock ticking. I don’t know nothin’ ’bout birthin’ no chicks, but the above comments about substitute eggs sure seem right….

  16. Cheryl in Sunny Cal (Calhoun Co.) says:

    Awwww, what a devoted little “momma wannabe”. :heart:

  17. Lisa T. says:

    Dear Banty Hen:

    Consider the up side. I suggest you take a nice singles cruise. Or maybe just get a good book, I know a lovely author, and take a long hot bath with bubbles and scented candles. Or just go to the bathroom without someone knocking on the door asking if they can have juice. (Why would I NOT let them have juice?). Sleep late, do just one load of laundry a week, pay for your groceries with cash instead of credit. Go on vacation, get a haircut by someone who went to school to do that sort of thing, watch rated R movies without holding your breath, no glitter in the cracks of the hardwood floors, nobody with perfect eyesight unable to hit the garbage can…I could go on forever…

    AND best of all you don’t have to go school shopping next month. You lucky bird.

  18. Runningtrails-Sheryl says:

    Sorry about the duplicate. Don’t know how that happened… Suzanne will you please delete the first of the two posts? I said just about the same thing everyone else did, anyway. I should probably read all the posts before I post.

  19. Suzanne McMinn says:

    Don’t worry about it, Sheryl! I took care of it!

    I’m thinking about going out to see if I can find some eggs this morning to put under her……

  20. Tammy says:

    Somebody needs to find three (or more) little day old chicks and slip them under her at night and remove the unfertile eggs! 😉 Then she can be a mommy and all her hard work will have paid off.

  21. Sheila Z says:

    She needs a break. A month of setting is hard on a hen. Take the rotten eggs away. Lock her out of the nest boxes and atop this broody cycle. Once she has some R&R then let her try again with some fertile eggs. When you give her the fertile eggs make sure you mark them so they don’t get accidentally collected. You also might want to have her nest away from the rest of the flock so they don’t disturb Her Broodiness/Highness. I would let her brood a duck egg or two just for fun. She will flip out when her babies jump in the pond. That’s kind of cruel really. Be nice, give her chicken eggs. I bet she will do a fantastic job of raising them.

  22. itsJUSTme-wendy says:

    Hi, you don’t know me but I am a frequent visitor of your great blog!
    I gave you an award. Come check it out at my blog –

  23. Paulette says:

    Awwww, poor little thing…that is kind of sad 🙁

  24. ANgie says:

    I have a few fertile eggs …

  25. Suzy says:

    I never thought I’d be tearing up over a chicken ……

  26. Theresa says:

    I never thought a chicken could make me sad, but that one did…

  27. BuckeyeGirl says:

    It’s hard to keep broodies from the nest boxes, but she really might need a break. It’s usually easier to pen a broody up seperately from the main coop, with some feed and water and no access to anywhere to nest.

    I added lots of Suzanne’s critters to my Suzanne McMinn puzzle folder. I hope everyone sees all 28 picures from ‘Chickens in the Road’. I tried to get a cross section of pictures that represent the spirit of C.I.T.R. to me. Not all pics make good puzzles, but there’s so many wonderful pictures by Suzanne that there’s no shortage to choose from.

    Jigsaw Puzzle Gallery –

  28. vlemonds says:

    Poor little banty hen! I hope she has some babies soon.

  29. Val says:

    This is so sweet but heartbreaking. My dad used to call these ‘setting’ hens. One word of caution, they will peck the back of your hand when you try to get at the eggs underneath (and WOW…that hurts)…so wear some leather gloves or some sort of hand protection. Yes, I agree with most everyone else, put some fertile eggs under her and let her become a mommmy. We can even give her a baby shower!! Now to find some guaranteed fertile eggs….is Mr. Banty doing his job? and how come the eggs she’s on now are not fertile. Hmmmm…Maybe those roosters are all strut and bully with no live bullets in the gun. LOLOL…oh I crack myself up! Don’t mind me, not enough caffeine this morning.

  30. Sheila Bergeron says:

    :chicken: Poor little thing; it’s kind of pitiful isn’t it?

  31. Barbee' says:

    Poor little thing. If she keeps this up, she won’t be able to walk. Couldn’t someone slip at least one baby chick under her so she will feel fulfilled?!

  32. Julie Andrea says:

    .. sniff sniff … I FEEL for this poor little girl, myself being 42 years old and childless. sniff sniffle

  33. Ms E says:

    Oh my, she needs a break and then a return to a couple of fertile eggs. But she’ll be a good mom when the time comes.

  34. Lynn says:

    Whereas I agree that it is sad, and that she’s probably getting rather thin from being at this so long, and that putting already hatched chicks in her presence would fulfill her quickly and get her off the nest to attend to them…the thing I want more to comment on is the story. I LOVED the story! This is one of the best yet! Keep ’em comin’!

  35. Gienah Ghurab says:

    What was that about Clover???

  36. B. Ruth says:

    OK Chicko sweetie, here’s the poop….uh….“scoop“…

    Rumor has it you have been sittin’ down on the job…way too long….no chickies‘, no breakfast eggs, no nothin‘….just broodin’ your little heart away. You’ve got to get a “groove “on honey!
    Humans tend to notice stuff like this after a while…they weren’t “hatched “yesterday, you know!
    I suggest you find your hen-self a young, active cockerel (banty like your ownself), ‘purty’ up a bit, and hit the barn door! Yes, I know breaking up is hard to do…but some of those “old blokes” you’ve been around are sending you down the “goat” (wrong) path…as the story goes….!
    Some chickens in the road just can’t cross, if you know what I mean…so give it up darlin’ and go party!

    PS…otherwise you may get the “Grandma” treatment, ice under the old feather duster!
    PS…or worse yet, sent to the “pen house” with just food and water, by yourself, until this “broody” phase passes….
    PS…I wouldn’t let your local “Roo’s” read this…they’re a wee bit touchy…..

  37. Sharilyn says:

    Last year our banty sat for 3 weeks on 12 eggs (we added to her stash) and only one hatched. We went immediately to our local hatchery and brought home a dozen day old chicks. At dusk, I went out and pulled the “rotten” eggs out from under her and slipped in the baby chicks one by one. She sat all night on them and in the morning they were all one big happy family. She adopted them with no trouble at all!! I suggest you give her a break so she will start to eat and drink regular again.

  38. Carol Ann says:

    Do what you need to do sweetie. Life is too short to do anything other than your true calling.

  39. Sharilyn says:

    p.s. A banty hen with chicks went for over $100 at the sale barn. They are quite a novelty and people want the babysitter and are willing to pay for it! She really is worth her trouble.

  40. Adrienne says:

    so cute! precious mama!!!

  41. Estella says:

    She really needs a couple of fertile eggs.

  42. Sandybee says:

    Your hen is not alone. Here is another one: At least yours is not trying to hatch a computer mouse! Maybe the two are twins separated at birth? Yeah, right. But, what do I know about hens? I’m a city gal.

  43. Lola-Dawn says:

    I had a banty/auracana X that was determined to set too. had her for over 7 years! Some years I bought her day-old chicks, and she was quite happy to set on them. Never lost a chick if Goldie was on the job.

  44. Jennifer says:

    Oh, poor chicken! Maybe you could swap out the eggs with ones that will actually hatch?…

  45. The Retired One says:

    I love…LOVE…that picture of the dog licking his looooong tongue on the side of his mouth. What a catch on film…!!!

  46. trish says:

    I just got home from work. Made a fried egg sandwhich and came here. Boy, do I feel bad now.

    That was sooooo sad! She is adorable. Never thought I would think a chicken was adorable.

    What have you done to me with this blog!!! lol :chicken:

  47. Senta says:

    If she is patient they will come. I know just how she feels. :heart:

  48. Mimi says:

    :chicken: This is so sad. I hope you will get rid of the dead eggs.

  49. Cindy says:

    I have one that is the same. Her eggs finallyexploded under her what a mess!!!! She is off the nest finally but if I know her she will go back. I have to collect eggs daily. What is funny is when she is sitting she gladly lets others join her and lay their eggs and she just keeps setting. 😆 😆

  50. Carol says:

    So Cute. I have a few hens that do that too.

  51. cranberry says:

    Can we not find a nice fertilized egg and stick it under her? Dedication and perserverence must win out! :chicken:

  52. Joycee says:

    We used to have a “Sittin’ Banty” when we lived at Horseshoe Bend. She was pitiful, she wanted to be a Mommy so! I didn’t have the heart to ever throw her off the nest, but she would steal the others eggs and claim them for her own. We would leave golf balls for her to pretend sit.

  53. Bee says:

    Ahhh…today my little girl, Princess Prunella Cupcake had baby peepers, thanks to surrogacy. Seems like I’ve fulfilled a girl’s dream of motherhood :chicken: 😀 :chicken:

  54. sandy says:

    I love your “talking” posts, haha.

  55. Tuza says:

    I’d tell her if she doesn’t produce she’ll be sitting on A PILE OF NOODLES soon. Them maybe she’ll sneek a fertile egg from Estel’s box one night and call it her own. She’ll smile, think she’s sly and escape the axe. Brooding hens come up with some mighty fine thoughts while sitting there. I’ve known a few to write a book sitting on eggs. Well, not in writing but the book is in their heads, i can tell by their expression. Then again, maybe she’s just straining, how would I know?

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