You may recall that I have a broody white pekin named Hilda. You may also recall that I currently have a mottled serama called Smudge living in the broody cage at the moment, so breaking Hilda is taking some time. Unfortunately, broodiness is catching. As of two days ago, Celia has also fallen under the spell. Crap.
The rest of the flock happily bumbles about the garden, eating things I'd rather they didn't and digging up things I'd rather remained buried. But Hilda and Celia remain clamped to their respective nests. At least they have settled for separate nest boxes, I suppose. Although this now cuts down the potential laying spots for the others by half. Rats.
Luckily, I now have a movable run in the garden which was purchased to allow Vera and the chicks some safe outdoor time. It is now being employed as the broody cooler. Never let it be said that chicken keeping comes without complications.
I placed a drinker and feeder in the run, and then braced myself to fetch the new inhabitants. Hilda is so deeply in the zone, that she didn't so much as murmur when I hooked her from the Palace and dumped her unceremoniously on the soggy grass. Celia squawked her head off and tried to sever my thumb. As I manhandled the evil hen towards the run, I glanced back at the pile of feathers she had lined her nest with and sighed. Celia is possibly the most determined broody I have ever had. Last autumn, she spent a grand total of twelve weeks clamped to the nest. Various trips to the broody cage had no effect, and in the end only going in to moult shook her from her crazy mission. Oh, and she is pure, unadulterated Beelzebub when broody.
Once I had thrust the flapping, squawking, hand-gouging Celia through the roof of the movable run, I clamped the lid down and caught my breath. Hilda still sat there in the middle of the run, staring off in to the distance and impersonating a curled feather boa. Celia immediately began to chunter and pace, knocking over the feeder and drinker while eyeballing me as if to say 'Yeah? You think you can break me? I'm just getting started'. I felt her evil eye on my back all the way across the garden.
The serama have decided to treat the incarcerated pekins as a zoo exhibit, and wander past the weld mesh clucking and staring. Celia is now running laps, while occasionally pecking at the still dopey Hilda. I am hoping that the cold, damp grass will prove an unsuitable nesting site.
I am now taking bets on which girl will succumb next.