adjective, brood·i·er, brood·i·est.
1. moody; gloomy.
2. inclined to sit on eggs: a broody hen.
Funny, but both of these definitions apply today. First, I am moody or gloomy. It is Monday. I am tired. I woke up late. My A/C went out this weekend. I have a huge list of things to do that has been accumulating for the past month. I have no energy or inclination in attacking said list. Basically, I am struggling.
This has made me very broody.
Second, I have a broody hen. She is my Black Jersey Giant, and I love her because she is very pretty. She has these big brown eyes, and they make her face look so sweet. Here she is as a youngster...
This little girl is all grown up now and she has decided she wants to be a Mother. This is not completely unusual, but due to the fact that I don't have a rooster, she is operating totally on instinct. I started noticing that she wasn't leaving the nest at all, even staying on the nest at night. I also noticed the she would get her feathers up whenever I came near her. She hasn't come after me at this point, but she has been a little more than upset with me for checking under her for eggs. Without a rooster, you may be wondering what she is sitting on?
I keep them in my nests in the event of snakes, and she started with two golf balls and then she would add an egg everyday. I have been removing the eggs, and slowly adding more golf balls. She is now sitting on five of the warmest golf balls you've ever touched.
After doing some extensive reading and research, I found that her natural instincts may be used for my benefit. I built her a brood box this past weekend. It consists of a 4' X 4' box, enclosed in wire and completely separated from the other hens. She has her own water and feed, and I was able to move the same nest that she has been sitting on with her. This will give her more privacy, and it will also make her feel a little better when she hops up to get a drink or a bite to eat. She won't have to worry about some other hen taking over her nest. It is amazing, but they will totally sacrifice themselves to sit their eggs or in her case, golf balls. Some how, she knows that they can not get cold.
Everything I read said to give her 24-48 hours to settle back down on her nest after moving her into her new brood box. If after 48 hrs, she hadn't settled down then we would be out of luck, and this experiment would not work. To my surprise, this girl took about 2 minutes to look over her new location, and then she hopped right back on her nest, and settled in. I have checked on her numerous times this weekend, and no change, still sitting the nest. I am trying to get pictures, but I am really trying not to disturb her too much. So, be patient with me.
How is all this extra work benefiting me? I have ordered new chicks. They are due to come in at the end of this week. My plan is to keep them quiet until nightfall, and then sneak them under her. This is the only shot I have at letting her be the Mother that she wants to be, and it will keep me from having to be responsible for babies. Just think about it! No lights to keep them warm. No cleaning out a special place in the garage to let them grow up. I think she will be a much better mother to them than I will.
Plus, I am already being a Mother to Chick-sters that are about a month old. It is about all I can handle. Remember, I am broody, too!
I will keep you updated.
The Chicken Wrangler
You may have noticed that I said it was Monday when I wrote this post, and I am just now posting it on Thursday. This is because when I had finished writing, I tried to publish the post, and it wouldn't let me. I kept getting an error message, and while I tried everything I knew to do, it wouldn't publish. Then, out of no where, it kicked me out of the program and off of the Internet. Ugh! I hate it when that happens. I thought all was lost! To my surprise, last night as I was updating my market page, there it was! Somehow, it saved itself as a draft. I don't understand it. I can't explain it. I was just very happy to see it there.
As an update, Momma is still sitting on her nest of golf balls. She has completely stopped eating, and as far as I can tell, she isn't drinking water either. I am a little worried about her, but you have to give her credit for being committed. Her babies should be here today, tomorrow at the latest. If they don't show up, I don't know what we will do. I am not too concerned about the feed, because, as I stated above, she is a big girl. The water on the other hand is a little concerning. She has completely stopped laying eggs, I am sure to conserve energy or as a result of lack of energy. I checked under her last night, and those are the hottest golf balls in Texas. She is doing her job well.
If you are a pray - er, say a few words for her. I really need this to work.