Friday, June 4, 2010

We've Got Ourselves a Broody Hen

It's Spring. Just about Summer. And BB's got that broody feeling!

At first we just thought she was taking an extra long time to lay her egg, which has been known to happen. But i quickly came to realize that she just wasn't budging. All day long, sitting in the nest. Sitting on eggs, sitting off eggs: SITTING. Repeated attempts to take her submissive and limp body from the nest resulted in her rapid return.

So today, on the advice of this lovely site, BB's been banished to a "Broody Coop." My rabbit cage is suspended over a trough to make a very uncomfortalbe, unrest on able mesh wire surface. She is not pleased. But hopefully in a few days she'll stop being so persnickity and can be allowed back with the rest of the rabble. Apparently a hen's comb will go from red to pink when she's broody, but BB's little pea comb is pretty difficult to see in the first place. I really don't notice a difference, so i'll just give her until the end of the weekend and hope she's straightened out.

For those of you less familiar with chickens: when a hen gets 'broody' it means she's trying to hatch herself some eggs. This isn't overly common in most hybridized laying hens as they've been bred to lay all the time. BB is a Canadian bird, maybe those Canadians have a different take on things (kidding, kidding) but it is more common for broodiness to set in during the spring and summer. I find it humorous that of all our 4 breeds of chickens, the Chanteclars are listed as "not broody" and the others all supposedly have a tendency to broodiness. Go figure.  If i was to allow her to remain broody, she'd stop laying for many weeks - the length of time necessary to hatch eggs. That's no good, and can also result in her death if not properly cared for (if she's not leaving the nest, she's not eating or drinking).

So, wish BB luck. She sure doesn't like it in here!

Do you have experience with broody hens? What tricks have you used that helped speed along the process back to laying?

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