One of the duties of a Mother Hen is to occasionally call all her babies over for a warming snuggle. The babies come toddling and scurrying over in response to the call, and Mama flaps her wings and shuffles her feet and scoops them with her head until they are all tucked underneath her. Quickly, the scene changes from hen-and-chicks to...just hen.
During all the hustle and bustle, it is sometimes possible to see what is going on beneath the hen. Once the babies get under there, the vast Mothership is right above them, still moving around a little to gather everyone in, and the little guys have no idea which way is forward. So all the babies just stand around under there, stock still, facing any which way. Their bodies are obscured by the hen's feathers, and only their legs are visible. So on the whole, the Mama appears to be standing on one normal-sized pair of legs and about 16 tiny, string-sized, additional legs, pointing in all different directions.
And then she sits on them. Ploomp!Given the astonishing quickness with which this all happens (not to mention the awkward angle, and the fact that the hen never wants to do this right up close to me), I have yet to photograph the elusive Many-Footed Hen. The closest I have come is this picture. The hen's wings are already down, giving the chicks coveted access to her wing-pits for snuggling but blocking their forest of feets from view. Only the chickie in the veeery front has visible legs...but there are seven MORE sets just like that under there, and it is hilarious. Picture it...now.