Just a quick word to let you know that Izzy has had enough! She was an amazing mother, very diligent to hatching her nest of golf balls, and very protective over her young ones but, no more! No idea what I am talking about? Catch up on things at these links...
There are more stories regarding Izzy and her chicks between here and there. Feel free to browse around and get the full scoop if you like. The point though...she is done. I had read that once the little girls were fully feathered, and no longer needed her for warmth, she would give it up. They have been fully feathered for a while, but we have had colder weather. Maybe that prolonged her decision a little, I don't really know.
All I can tell you for certain is that about a week ago, I was out there late at night, I would say it was after 11:00. She was pacing the wall between her and the other hens. She was definitely not paying attention to the little ones. I had filled the feeders for the rest of the girls, and Izzy was feeling a little left out. Like possibly they were getting to eat something better than she had been eating? Once I noticed her, I went in the West Wing of the Chicken Mansion, and tried to catch her. I say the West Wing of the Mansion because they are taking over the hay barn. The chickens now own 2/3 of the building. To put this in perspective, they started with 1/6 over three years ago.
I don't think the Man in Charge realizes this yet...so, shhhh.
Regardless, I tried to catch her, but no going. Like I said, it was late, so I really didn't put much effort into it and decided to wait until the next day. The next evening rolled around, and I noticed the same behavior. Again, I entered the West Wing, and the first thing I found was an egg on top of the brood box.
No nest...just an egg hanging out all alone.
Izzy has not laid a single egg since the arrival of her little babies. Don't ask me to explain it. She has never been with a Rooster. She has never laid a fertilized egg. She sat on a nest of golf balls for two weeks, and I delivered her babies to her in the dark one night. How her body knew to shut it off is beyond me. Once I saw the egg. I knew this was for real.
This time I was a little more determined in my effort to catch her, and it didn't really take long. I returned her to the world of the Big Girls, and it was like we were teleported to another place and another time...Las Vegas I think...I hear an announcer with a booming, smooth sounding voice...
Ladies and Gentlemen!
Welcome to the Heavy Wieght Championship of the World!
In this corner, wearing the black feathers, is our challenger...Izzzzzzzy!
Returning from maternity leave to challenge anyone who steps in her way!
And, in this corner, we have a multi-cultural gang of girls ready to fight for their rightful places in the Pecking orderrrrrr!
Ding! Ding! Ding! Ding! Ding!
Everyone came out fighting.
Most animals that live in groups have a pecking order. Introducing a new hen, even though she was not really new, to the group meant everyone had to figure out which rung of the ladder they were on. Izzy fought with two hens right off the bat. One after another, and they were T.K.O.'ed in the first rounds. Then she was beaten in one round by a much bigger girl. She immediately went after the girl that has always been at the bottom of the order. I think this was just to build her confidence back up a little. After that quick skirmish, the Big Chick on campus put a lightening fast whoopin' on her, and left with a feather.
That was it!
They all settled down and started eating like they had been together forever.
This all took place in a matter of 60 seconds.
Izzy is now like, "What babies?"
Not to worry, the babies have not been fazed by this at all. They, like most teenagers, are indifferent. The Hooligans are still in the West Wing with the little ones, and have started behaving less like hooligans. They are actually pretty calm. Possibly because they know their time is coming...