Saturday, May 19, 2007

The Saga of the Broody Hen...
Okay, I'm being melodramatic. I hate disappointment. It makes me feel like screaming. This hen makes me want to scream.
My pencilled Wyandotte hen has been broody now for...I don't know how many days. She has a nice clutch of 16 eggs that she's been on. I peek in on her every day, just to make sure she's okay. I am careful not to disturb her, don't want anything to go wrong!
Yesterday, I took a peek and she is not on her nest. She is on the NEXT nest, on a small, recently deposited clutch. Oh no! Her clutch is cooling to the touch. So I gathered up her clutch and ran them inside to candle. Out of the 16, 12 look viable. I even saw the embryo's twitch in a few, so I know they were still alive. I mark them with tiny black marker "X"'s over the air cell, then quickly and carefully re-deposit them back in their original nest. Then comes the enjoyment of moving the pencilled fury back onto them. I had some foul words coming out of my sweet mouth as my hands were just about removed by the vicious beak!
Disaster averted! I removed the entire second nesting box, just to make sure this doesn't happen again.
So today, I go out and see the pencilled hen strolling across the yard, pecking, contented. I look in her box, another hen is on her clutch! Is this one now going broody? Did she bully the pencilled girl off her nest? Who cares, I just want some chicks!
I check the clutch, two eggs with no X's on them. So the new hen was just laying. And I'm furious, wondering if the pencilled hen has simply abandoned her nest after being broody for almost two weeks. :(
So I gritted my teeth and tried to ,mentally "will" the hen back on the nest quickly. I know that forcing her physically will not work. I have to wonder if she is simply taking her daily break? If she is, she is taking her sweet time doing it!
I accept the fact that the embryos are dying a slow, cold death. I chalk it up as just one of the losses that happens with livestock. I am in a funk although I should know "not to count..." know the rest.
Now, she is now back on the nest!
Will I get some precious peeps? Stay tuned...!


Nancy K. said...

Oh, you WILL get chicks! I just KNOW you will!!!

Kathy L. said...

Most hens will, indeed, get up off the nest and wander a bit, then get back on the job. The other hen may have forced the broody off just to lay her eggs, then left. I usually put my broody/incubators in a separate place as soon as they start so they can have a place to themselves. It also keeps others from canabilizing the chicks as they are hatching. I raise true Ameraucana bantams (blues & black). Funny thing about chickens is they'll be broody when you don't want them to be, then turn around and not be broody when you need them to incubate a nest.
Good luck with the hatching!