Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Breaking a Broody

Petunia would make a great mama, she would. Buuuuut, we don't have a rooster and her eggs (and those that she's commandeered from her flock mates) will not hatch, no matter how long she sits there...and she's been sitting there for a few days now. Her breed is known for 'going broody,' in other words, periodically they have a strong instinctual drive to raise a brood o'chicks. My first clue that she was in the zone was when she decided to spend the night in the egg laying box instead of roosting with the other gals. And then she pretty much has stayed there except when Azalea or Marigold come up to lay their eggs, then they'd shoo her out, she'd pace back and forth waiting for them to deposit an egg right next to hers and then scramble back on in to sit on the batch. Poor thing. She had even plucked her feathers from her undersides to incubate those pathetic unfertilized eggs. I brought her a personal dish of water and food for her to replenish her energy. She wasn't looking any worse for wear, but it has happened that a hen becomes so broody she literally dies waiting to receive her babies that are never coming.

So I decided to make every one's life easier and put her in the broody breaker. Basically a wire dog crate up on saw horses in the garage with no bedding. I took her a few days to snap out of it, but she eventually stopped screaming at me and angrily puffing out her feathers whenever I came near and now she's back to normal and hopefully will start laying her daily egg once again. Had I known she was likely to head in that direction I would have waited on getting our new chickies earlier in the spring and just gotten a few fertilized eggs, how fun would that've been watching little chickers scrambling after their mama! Maybe next year.

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