Thursday, 16 December 2010

Congratulations! It's A Nest Box!

You know that hen who went broody in September? Just as it started to get cold and miserable? Celia? Guess what? She is still broody. Yes, hard as it is to believe, the insane silver partridge is still firmly welded to the nest. I have had various attempts at breaking the spell, but she just plays along until I think she's cured and then legs it up the ramp as soon as I turn my back. I'm beginning to wonder if her software needs a reboot.

I've had determined broodies before, but generally the psychosis sets in during a more rational time of the year. Such as the spring or summer. As temperatures are plummeting well in to the minuses here in the midlands, I have to wonder just how crackers Celia is. No rational hen would consider these conditions perfect for rearing chicks in. The fact that she hasn't even had an egg to sit on in weeks and weeks is also perplexing. Usually a broody only stays broody for any length of time if she can find eggs to sit on/steal. Curiously, Celia doesn't seem interested in eggs. I have come to the conclusion that the little oddball is trying to hatch the nest box.

If I shut her out, she chunters with distress for a bit before joining the rest of the flock on a foray about the garden. As soon as able, though, she's back in to her beloved nest. The rest of the hens ignore her having obviously written her off as loopy. She is eating and drinking, and her overall condition is good. Apart from her tummy/chest feathers, which have taken on a bit of a wavy appearance what with being rubbed in to wood shavings for hours and hours a day.

If the weather was warmer, I would dunk her in a bucket of water and then broody cage her. However, with the cold being quite extreme the first option would be animal cruelty and even the second option leaves her at risk of not making it through the night. So I have devised a cunning plan. Her favoured nest box is the one nearest the pop hole. Tomorrow morning I am going to block it off. Now, she might just move next door which will be a little annoying (but not a major issue because none of the hens are currently laying. I could just shut down the whole nest box wing of the Palace). But if like I suspect she is actually mothering nest box number four, she might come to her senses.

Well, I can hope.

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