Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Chicken in a Basket or You Can't Thwart Mother Nature

Four weeks ago, one of the Buff Orpingtons went "broody" on us. She has been in a state of anxiety the whole time and this is spreading to the other hens out there. They have dropped off laying eggs to around 1 or 2 a day total and I take those away from her to discourage the "setting" instinct.

The others haven't joined her in the "brood" business but I worry it's only a matter of time.

I have been trying all suggested methods proffered to "break her up" which means get her to knock it off !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

For the record, I have:
Removed the fake egg which stimulates production in hens (supposedly)
Taken her off the nest box 4-5 a day
Spoken in soft modulated tones in an effort to talk her out of this state of mind
Scolded her mercilessly
Massaged her neck muscles
Dipped her feet and underbelly in a cool water to drop her temperature

That last one was my idea and it didn't work either. She just would stand there and cluck cluck and ruffle her feathers and looks so sad and frantic at the same time. So I started acting frantic. to John, "What do we do!!!?? What do I do!!!!" He looked back at me. He knows what I am thinking.

So, I asked the chicken what she wanted to do..... and whaddaya know?

She wants to keep her babies! So I scrounged two and laid them underneath her and she did just that!!!!!! She shoved them under her with her beak and settled down with this more passive countenance. (I swear!) (It's true, I swear!) If I had given her needles and yarn, she'd be out there knitting.

So I called a friend who has a rooster and asked if she had any eggs to spare and she did from yesterday's haul which she had not collected yet. I ran over just now and brought home 5 more eggs (very pretty birds she has too so I hope the babies, should we get any out of this, are going to be awesome. Her roo looks alot like Stu)

I slipped them under as well and she spread out and accepted them. 21 days.

Check back.

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