|BP’s sisters keep her company.
When I consulted the web for advice about how to remedy my broody hen problem I was surprised to find just as many articles bemoaning the fact that broodiness cannot be inducedas articles explaining how to cure it. As it turns out, the brooding instinct has been bred out of many chicken varieties in order to increase egg production. Most hens have no interest in sitting on a clutch for 21 days, nor in protecting any resulting offspring. A broody bird, on the other hand, will sit stubbornly until she perishes or her eggs hatch, or until she is coaxed out of her broody state by other means.
Which brings us to our ‘problem’ hen.
|An Apology Tomato
Little miss BP survived her first night in lockdown and accepted, though somewhat reticently, my early morning Apology Tomato. To my surprise, the ladies were far less forgiving. They threw me resentful looks and hovered near her while making little clucking noises, clearly upset by her continued confinement.
“It’s one thing to lock her up for a minute to teach her a lesson about sharing,” I heard one say, “but to keep her in there all night? Who knows what else these people are capable of!”
Not the proper time, I’m guessing, to mention to the flock our plans to buy a chest freezer in the fall.
But the whole episode was overshadowed by the arrival of Hen House 3 which The Husband rolled ceremonially across the lawn on a garden wagon. The hen yard erupted into an excited frenzy.
|Hen House 3
HH3 is The Husband’s Coop de Résistance. He not only constructed it in a single day (recall the weeks long Château de Ferrières ordeal
?), he managed it without a single trip to the hardware store AND without taking any measurements (which may explain why it ended up a tad gigantic for the three little hens it was built for).
When I brought the Silkies out to see their new home, attitudes in the hen yard cooled.
“Oh for crying out loud, it’s for those things?” the ladies grumbled. They assembled in the dirt near BP for huffy afternoon dust baths and to compiled a list of our deficiencies. In other words, things returned to near-normal.
|Dust bathing with BP
Though not entirely so: when we closed the Silkies up in their new coop at dusk BP was in her fluffed-up brooding pose making the endless puk-puk-puk sound a mother hen uses to sooth her clutch.
Mark my words: there will come a day when this behavior results in much rejoicing. In the meantime, I’ll probably have to make a lot of Apology Tomatoes.
To be continued…