Friday, 15 April 2011

Being Broody Makes You Unpopular

Hilda is still broody. This isn't an unusual situation when it comes to pekins. In my experience, they are a tag team of nest hoggers. Of course, this brings it's own problems. A broody hen takes up space in the nest box, and that gets right on the other hens' bosoms.

Naturally, Hilda has set up her hormonal vigil in the favourite nest box. Never mind that there are four, yes, four, nest boxes to choose from, given half a chance they all prefer the one furthest from the pop hole and nearest the coop door. And now when the rest of the flock goes in to lay, there is an inflatable white pekin filling it up with her craziness and growling. Initially everyone took this with good grace, or at least the minimal of grumbling. But now Hilda has been broody for nearly a fortnight and their patience is running out.

Increasingly a commotion can be heard from the Palace as a narked hen wedges herself on top of the broody Hilda to lay her egg. As the laying hen leaves, she is wont to give Hilda a sharp peck to the comb, just to show her displeasure at the lack of privacy. As a result, Hilda's comb is beginning to look a little...nibbled. She isn't seriously hurt, but it could tip over in to violence at any time.

Under normal circumstances, I'd have broody caged the errant hen over the weekend. However, we won't be here so I can't. For the next two days Hilda will have to stay broody as I can't ask my chicken sitter to don the gardening gloves and broom handle necessary for handling a psychotic chicken. But her broody days are numbered. As of Monday, she's in the slammer.

Vera is still sitting tight to her eggs. I am trying very hard not to interfere in any way, but must admit I am struggling. I'm worrying that she isn't eating enough, or drinking enough, or pooing enough. She is such a tiny little thing, I won't take any chances with her welfare. However, every time I open the hutch to peer in at her, she glares at me in a distinctive 'Naff off' manner, so I suspect she is doing everything just as she should.

Betsy is missing her pal enough to attempt making friends with the pekins. Despite being chased and generally having iot made clear to her that she's not welcome, Betsy proves determined. She follows the flock about like an annoying little sister and even makes herself at home in the coop. The girls watch this audacity with slightly stunned inaction. So far, she has avoided any repercussions because of her 'Roadrunner' abilities. Serama are speedy.

Two weeks until hatch day.

Quick Edit: I have separated Hilda. I couldn't go away knowing that Maeve was attempting to eat her from the comb down. So now she is on the floor of the garage covered with a broody cage, most put out and kicking her water everywhere. I hope my chicken sitter doesn't kill me.


  1. We had two serama, tiny little A/B hens, broody for a full ten days before I could get them some eggs. They then sat three weeks, hatched their babies gorgeously, and have taken extravagant care of them. They did lose some weight but never to the point that I was worried, got downright fat within days of hatching their babes, and within a few weeks were laying again. Since what I was able to get for them were cochin eggs (pekins) their babies are now 3/4 their size and have to be extremely firmly tucked under wings. But they are fantastic mothers and I have no doubt they'll be broody again before summer sets in.

  2. Oh,t hanks for this Joanna! I've been worrying myself sick about the little thing. She's an A class and a real sweetheart. Did your girls take regular breaks? She's a bit slack at eating/drinking/pooing, she's so in the zone :/