I’ve got another broody hen, so now the eggery is a duplex.
The first broody – the most tolerant little girl who was keeping the orphan guinea warm for a few days (that little keet expired after all) – is due any day, if she was successful. Her attachment to a daily meal may have left her eggs cold for too long.
I haven’t really thought through the extra occupation of the the chickery, but I’ll probably release the first set of chicks into the greenhouse jungle when they come.
The new broody is the biggest of all the silkie hens; she’s easily covering 9 eggs.
The first broody has stuck to her daily break time throughout her term- a new quirk, and the box inside the chickery has worked perfectly. She comes out, eats, poops, and then creeps back into her box, talking to her eggs the whole time, which is adorable. I’m coming back…here I am.
I have a long-running ad on Kijiji to divest of Silkie roosters, rather than axe them, and sometimes I sell hens and eggs. Keeping the flock manageable.
I think it´s simply hilarious to put them in EGGS boxes. No one else thinks it’s quite so funny. “It’s like the chicken and the eggs…which came first? The eggs are going to come out of the box, but not right away?… Oh never mind”. Also it´s like the Boxtrolls.
Anyway, two hens went for a long drive (they made hardly a peep), and got a major lifestyle upgrade. I got a text late in the day reporting that the hens had loved every minute of a shampoo and warm blowdry (I bet they did. I bet they’re simply gawgeous. ), and they also enjoy being held and petted. We’re not on the farm any more, Dorothy. They’re probably hoping I forget to pick them up from this spa weekend. It´s the bouff I´ve always dreamed of! I’ve always wanted a good blowout. I can´t even imagine how fluffy they got.
I did choose two of the shyest, most anxious and retiring chickens, because I had a feeling they were going somewhere to be pets, and they could appreciate the lifestyle upgrade. I didn’t know it was going to be a spa package upgrade.
Coming soon to a neighbourhood near you: purse chickens.
Unfortunately, she decided she was NOT done sitting on the rest of her eggs, and insistently refused to get up and start mothering, for several days (!).
I attempted to adopt the lone chick into the clutch that hatched four days earlier. Four days makes a difference – the newer chick is significantly smaller. I moved the chick in the night and put her under the other hen, but in the morning, I saw the hen pecking the intruder on the head! Yikes! Adoption not successful.
What to do? Take the eggs away? That could mean killing chicks that are almost baked, as the setting hens usually seem to know when their eggs are alive or not.
Luckily, the mother finally got up off her eggs and got about the business of early chick education.
The only chick and mother in the chick cycle rotation. Upgrade to the chickery.
I go to put them out in the morning, and she’s laid an egg! This hen is so ready for more chicks.
The fount is in there for the determined broody who was settled in. I thought I’d try out letting her set in the coop. It’s not going well.
My Silkies are trying. Very trying.
The last of my originals are the good rooster and the little white hen, who is smaller all the time (shrinking)- a little wraith of a chicken- but still feisty, cranky, and laying. The other hens are all former chicks, hatched last year, who are now trying to figure out how to become mother hens, but are rather bad at it and do not accept instruction.
First they all went broody one after the other, in March. A little early, Missy’s, but, if you must… They decided to pile up together right at the top of their ramp, a small-brained decision. Eggs roll, after all. And the roosters would step on them on their way into the coop.
Then, the egg-thieving began. These Slkies are champion egg thieves. It’s an ongoing problem. At first, the let-no-egg-go-untended ethos seemed good, as when any of the sisters left for a drink or a quick bite, her eggs were promptly grabbed and tucked under a hot furry chicken breast.
Curious how they moved eggs around as they obviously, frequently do, I’d wondered about their egg-rolling methods until I saw them do it, right under my hands. It turns out the beak and the egg are perfectly adapted to each other when it comes to rolling. I was shuffling irritated hens around to see what was under them, an egg came into sight, and whisk! The hen (in my hands) stretched out her beak and flick-rolled that egg into her own collection as fast as a blink. OK, then!
So these broody sisters were playing egg-snatchers, and sometimes a hen would have no eggs, another would have too many. The egg arms race.
I tried to move three of the most committed birds into a shared broody box (still in the coop), but they were having none of it. Two escaped the box and returned to their original precarious choice (top of the ramp), leaving one heroically topping a mound of abandoned eggs.
I was reluctant to take any of them out of the coop because it seems cold to be away from the familial body heat.
I let them have it their way. It did not go well. Eggs vanished. One hen decided to set a clutch way too big for her under the ramp, and when I culled her holdings she restored her stock from who-knows-where.
Eventually all the hens but one gave up and moved on with another phase in their lives. That one, so determined, sat and sat. She’s a classy polite little brown lady, like her mom the first brown hen. When it went far too long for anything to be alive under her, I took and broke her eggs, and sadly, half of them were almost finished before they died. I don’t know why; there must have been some event. The others were horribly rotten, gah!
She’s so fixed though (I’m hatching a damn egg if it’s the last thing I do!), that I gave her four new eggs, and, worried for her body weight, her own snack bar, which I think she ignores but the other hens polish off.
A few days later, I was tucking fresh hay around her and peeked- seven eggs! Sigh, here we go. I suppose she’s taking them from the other side of the coop where the other ladies are laying and leaving these days. I have to watch these little birds, but they do not make it easy to help them.
(just after this I resorted to sequestering each hen with about seven eggs in a box of her own in the greenhouse, and the Silkie population is now burgeoning)
Just when I was starting to worry- she’s been sitting on those eggs forever- HW comes in in the morning and says Have you looked under the brown hen lately? Oh, you’re gonna be excited!
FIVE chicks! Five healthy, brown and mixed (spider markings) chicks. OMG, so, so SO cute. And an egg with a tiny hole in it. I didn’t even know she had six eggs under her.
I peeked at that egg later in the morning and it had a slightly larger hole in it. A whole day behind the others, though. Will it hatch?
At coop-closing time, I wiggled my fingers under her to see if there was still an egg, or a shell to pull out. The hen firmly pushes her wings against the floor, making a barrier (while growling, a most amusing sound). You can only nudge in under her chest or butt. All underneath her was tiny legs and little squirming bird bits. She contains multitudes. The egg was there, intact. I pulled it out.
It’s not every day that an egg, in your hand, shouts at you. It’s disconcerting. CHEEP! The bird inside was very much alive. Although still all crammed in its box without hinges, key or lid, it let me know- it’s alive, and busy. Put me back! I swiftly tucked it back in to the mom furnace to finish hatching.
Wow. A 100% turnout from the brown hen. She’s smaller, but smarter.
Yay! Three chicks from the white hen (although two are from stolen eggs)- far better than I expected, and equal to her productivity last year.
I’m pretty sure that will be it for chicks from her, although I’ll leave her her eggs a few more days. She would know, I think, if there was any life in the remaining eggs and stay on them. After the first chick, she got even more fierce about sitting on her eggs, as two more were close to done then. Now she seems to be losing interest in the eggs, or else she’s just very hungry now.
All four of them are in a confinement box now for a few days.
Ah, yes, the little brown hen is now officially broody. I’ve been wondering if she’s on her way, as she’s been spending some time every day in the coop, but it seems she was just taking her sweet time laying eggs.
What’s been very amusing is that she’s been shuffling her eggs every day. At three eggs, I made a clean straw bowl and put the three scattered eggs in it. The next day, she moved all three a foot away, and laid another. The next day, she moved them back. The next day, relocated again. Now, she’s back in the “nest” I made, and is settled down.
We really need a chicken cam, to see what goes on in there- all this egg shuffling. How do they do it? How long does it take?
It’s kind of cool that they took turns going broody. Snowball (the rooster) agrees. He gets SO bored when there are no hens to hang with, and then he starts getting into trouble, deciding to take charge of the red hens, or something.
A few days ago the white broody got really deep into it, no longer leaving the coop in the morning, and assuming a very deep meditative state. I gave her a bento box and water, and she snacks on it, but at this stage she must must get very serious about her mission.
The cardboard has worked – no more egg thieving. Her due date has come and gone, and I expect the worst, that she’s lost them all for being too ambitious. Yet, I hope for some hatching.
I’m waiting for her head to come up, I remember it from last year. When she starts looking awake, it will be because there’s something going on beneath her.