Monday, 6 April 2009

Feeling Broody?

What would you have seen if you were my neighbour looking out of their window this morning??

You would have seen me walk out into the garden to the hen house- pick out a chicken from the nest box and then dunk her in the pond then put her back in the house and go back inside.

Call the RSPCA!! He’s mad!!

Well the reason I have done this is because the chicken has gone and got itself broody!

Its Hermione the brown chicken- its very funny to see as she simply wont budge from the nest box and when you go near her she fluffs up and growls at you!

Broodiness is when the hen decides she doesn't want to lay and egg and just leave it for us to eat- but that she wants to incubate it and hatch out some chicks! It can last 3 weeks- it sounds cute but in that time you don't get any more eggs laid, and they are so strong willed about sitting on the eggs they don't leave the nest very often so don't eat or drink as much as they should which could mean their health deteriorates rapidly! Plus on top of that as I don't have a boy her eggs aren’t fertile so will never hatch no matter how long she sits on them!

So ive decided to try to stop her being broody. Some places recommend you put the hen in a small wire cage made of chicken wire event he floor where the hen cant settle as the chicken wire makes it uncomfortable. However this takes up to a week- and ive nowhere to put such a cage if I had one.

I had read on the Omlet forum -the best method is to dunk the chicken in a bucket of cold water a couple of times a day to cool her down as broodiness is accompanied with a rise in body temps. I didn't have a bucket of water to hand this morning so I picked her out of the nest box and dunked her rear end in the pond!!! I felt a bit mean but when I put her back in the house she went straight down to eat! I closed off the door to the house so they cant get back up – so I might find an egg in the run tonight.

Lets hope this works! Think of it a bit like a cold shower to snap her out of it!

Chickens ehh?! Who would have thought the things id have to do!

The only other option is to buy some fertile eggs and let her hatch them! Im not sure the neighbours (or my garden) are ready for more chickens!

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