We have been hoping all year that one of our hens might get broody, so that we could try raising a small clutch of chicks ourselves (but without all the crazy feather-dust-in-the-bathroom that comes with hand-raising them). Typically, though, modern chickens do not get broody very often, because that has been bred out of them in an attempt to increase their egg productivity.
But! A week ago we got lucky, and one of our new chicks, who had only laid a few eggs so far (but they have been huge, double and triple yolkers, the poor girl), started sitting on the nest and looking broody . Then a day or two later, one of our Orpingtons starting sitting on the next constantly. Suddenly it was like an epidemic of fainting among high school girls – everybody wanted to go broody! Well, we don’t want THREE broody hens (we only have 3 nestboxes, for one thing), so we have to try to break two of the girls from their spell.
The solution to breaking broody hens is apparently a very uncomfortable spell in a wire cage. So, here we have Cheery and one of the four elephants, doing their unpleasant stint in a cage donated by my mother. They’re actually handling it pretty well – just a few more days to go and hopefully their chest feathers will grow back and they’ll go back to laying eggs soon!
And as for our little clutch of eggs? Well, apparently over time a few other hens were able to sneak their eggs into the nest, too, so instead of the 3 eggs we started with, our would-be mommy is sitting on 8 eggs!! It’s a mystery as to whether they are viable, though, since we don’t know for certain that she’s been consistant enough to have kept them warm at the crucial moments. But chickens hatch at 21 days, so, we have two weeks left before we might get to see some chicks! In the meantime, this orpington has her game face on.