Broody hen becomes Mother Goose
By Nicky Carter - Reporter
A BROODY hen called Brownie has become a real life Mother Goose, helping to hatch seven geese eggs.
Startforth resident Kathy Palmer hoped to add to her brood of fowl in lockdown and ordered what she believed were two geese eggs.
But when they arrived, there were two boxes, each containing four eggs.
Mrs Palmer said: “We expected two, but when there were eight it was a bit of a surprise, but we couldn’t send them back.
“We had a broody hen, Brownie, and our friends, Arthur and Sue Ellwood, had one too and we put the eggs under them.
“It was quite a sight. Brownie is the smallest hen but had the biggest eggs to sit on.”
Despite their large size Brownie did well with all but one of the eggs hatching
And for the first few weeks the sight of a small hen leading a brood of Emden goslings around the riverside paddock became an attraction for people out on their daily exercise.
David, Mrs Palmer’s husband, said: “We’ve had lots of people coming along to have a look when they’ve been out getting exercise, bringing their kids to have a look. It is quite a sight.
Mrs Palmer added: “For the first two to three weeks after the goslings hatched, she was still behaving quite maternally towards them.
“But when they started to grow and get bigger than she was, she backed off from them.”
The couple also provided a home to three orphaned ducklings, which were found hiding under a car in Raby Avenue. Mrs Palmer added: “The person who found them did try and find their mum, but I think they probably just wandered off.”
After bringing them to their home, they were kept under a heat lamp for a while, before they joined the other birds in the paddock, where a child’s paddling pool has provided them with a little water to swim in.
She said: “They’re free to leave but they don’t seem to want to.
“They do venture down to the river, but they always come back.”