My brain has adjusted to counting the chickens quickly by thinking … ‘a handful of black (5), a handful of buff (5) and a pair of greys. For the last few days I’ve kept coming up one buff short …
And … each time I have gone into the coop to clean or to refresh the water dinosaur growls would rumble out of the nesting boxes. I’ve had friends tell me about their broody hens … A broody hen is one that has decided she is ready and wishing to hatch herself some chicks. Broody hens are ferocious. She might have been cuddly and friendly just a day ago … now she puffs herself up to look as big as possible … nipping and screeching anytime you come near her nest. SHE doesn’t lay eggs. However she lurks until she sees other hens using a box and then declares the eggs hers to hatch and raise.
I spent most of this morning plowing the laneways and the back yard access to the paddock. Any time I was near the coop I could hear incredible fights going on between the hens. Then Paddy would sprint across the yard to referee. Even he was looking frazzled. When I got to the paddock chores I found Audrey Henburn yet again sitting on a clutch of eggs. I had already taken her out three times today. The nesting box was scattered with her breast feathers. As it was yesterday … The hens bare their chests to put their warm skin right up against the eggs. Thing is … we are NOT raising chicks from eggs. We WILL have some Brahma chicks arriving in a month or so. Hmmm… seems that poor Audrey was needing a bout of ‘Broody Jail’.
A warm spell like we’ve had and/or a surge of hormones can kick a hen into broody mode. (Think of it as chicken PMS.) In her large dog crate – with lots of air flow all around as well as underneath – hopefully Audrey will be able to cool down and her hormones can rebalance. My research suggests she needs to be there for three days … to start. If on Friday afternoon she rejoins the flock and doesn’t make a beeline for the nesting boxes she gets a ‘Get Out of Jail’ pass. If not … poor girl has more time behind bars. This is my first time dealing with a broody. I suspect that living with Buff Orpingtons and soon Buff Brahmas … it won’t be my last. Guess Audrey and I will be learning the ropes together.