If well fed, and allowed to roam in a farm-yard, a good hen will deposit, in the course, of twelve months, above 200 eggs. She prepares her nest without any care, either among bushes, or by scratching a hole in the ground; the time of hatching is preceded by a clucking noise, and the animal's diseontinu-ng to lay eggs. Ten or twelve chickens being the greatest number that a good hen can rear and clutch at a time, various methods have been devised for obtaining young broods by artificial means, of which, we have already treated under the article Hatching.
Capons may easily be taught to clutch a fresh brood of chickens : First, the fowl is made so tame, as to feed from the hand ; on the approach of the evening, the feathers are plucked off his breast; the bare skin is rubbed with nettles ; and the chickens are then placed beneath, him. This expedient is repeated two or three nights in succession, till the animal conceives an affect ion for the young birds thus committed to his charge: when one brood is grown up, another nearly hatched may be placed un-dey him, in the manner above di-rected ; and he will treat them with the same tenderness as the real pa-rent.