Thursday, 16 June 2011

These Girls Fall Like Dominoes

You know how I said that my Pekin girls are a tag team of broodiness? Well, I wasn't kidding. Hilda has been waving the flag for hormone induced psychosis for about a fortnight now, and just a few days ago Celia went under the spell. As of this afternoon, the Skeksis voiced frizzle has decided to join the gang. Gladys has turned to the dark side. Now three out of four nest boxes are filled with vacant, hot, pale faced chickens. Terrific.

I could weep. Not because I will now be getting only half the eggs I should be. Not because in turfing them out of the nest regularly I am in danger of losing a thumb or an eye. Not even because broody poo is an abomination to the human olfactory system. No. But because my broody cage is inhabited by a small serama hen, and she can't yet be fully integrated.

This is a problem. At the moment, I am sticking my broody girls in a run with food and water, so keeping them from their cosy nest boxes and making sure they don't lose condition. However, they're not away from the Palace for long enough to lose their purpose. As soon as they're released from the run, they are straight back up in to the nest boxes and pulling out their own chest feathers. Much like the way they have me tearing out my hair.

I don't like leaving hens broody. I don't like the fact that they become vulnerable to parasites, and disgruntled flock members. I don't like to see a healthy, glossy bird lose condition. But in order to break a determined broody pekin, it's a minimum stay in the cage of at least 48 hours. And I have nowhere else to stick Smudge without risking the biggest serama punch up on British soil.

Thinking caps on, people.


  1. I've just had great success with breaking my first ever broody using one of my dogs cages. Could you not buy one from ebay and use that? They're very affordable and raised up on bricks they're just the ticket for cracking a broody. Only took three days and the job was done.

  2. Oh good luck. I sure hope none of mine ever go broody. I only have heavy layers and I think only one of the breeds I have tends to go broody.

  3. I have broken severeral broody cycles by dunking the feathery squarking nitwits up to the wings in a bucket of cold water, and repeating the process several times a day. It cools off their bodies and then they snap out of it. Won't work for the most determned (like my Silver Dorkings or Cream Legbars) but pretty effective for most.