Miolea Organic Farm

  (Adamstown, Maryland)
Organic Farming from a City Boy's Perspective
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Broody is broody again

We are learning, we have learned and we will continue to learn.  Our knowledge comes from reading, talking to others, working and observing.  Like on Saturday we observed that Broody was back sitting in her nesting box.  Then we observed on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday the same thing.

This is a natural occurance for chickens sometimes they go broody.  We've only been raising hens for three years so we don't have a lot of experience.  However, we have faced broodiness before so we sorta know what we are doing.  In all the books that we've read I don't remember if they talked about a broody hen going broody twice in the same year.

I did observe something I hadn't noticed before.  When a chicken is broody the last thing you want to do is let her sit on an egg.  Everything that we've read says to take eggs from her.  You don't want to encourage the behavior so taking the eggs gives her nothing to hatch.

Chickens will lay one egg every 25 hours, give or take, on Sunday we took the egg from under her.  Monday when we checked she was in the same nesting box but there were two eggs.  I took them, my glimer of hope was the two eggs in the box.  She had laid one (broody chickens do not) and she was out of the box long enough for another chicken to lay her egg.

Getting a broody chicken out of our nesting box is pretty hard due to the design of the nest and access to it.  So, we put off getting her out until we were sure she really was broody.  Tuesday when we checked she had three eggs under her and we took them.  She was still in the same box though.  Wednesday morning I looked in the box for eggs and saw two under Broody and one in the middle box.  Broody was still nesting in the third box farthest from the opening.  I thought once again she had laid, gotten out of the box and another hen laid her own egg.  I went about the day's chores and kept the chicken pen within site.  The day progressed with no sight of Broody.  By late afternoon I had decided to check the nesting boxes again.

I looked in and Broody was still in the third nest facing the back.  Yet, she had another two eggs under her and it dawned on me.  She wasn't laying and she wasn't getting out of the nest.  The other chickens must know she is broody.  They are nesting in her box and laying their eggs for her to hatch.  Four eggs on Wednesday and three the day before that.  She hadn't left the nest at all and she wasn't laying.   There is no way a chicken can move an egg in our nesting boxes.  The floor is on a decline from front to back, with a back wall high enough to let the egg roll underneath and in a holding area.  These were all under her front wings.

We decided that it was time to get her out of the nesting box and into the barn.  This is not a stress free process for the bird or us.  I eventualy got her out and headed for the barn.  While we were walking I took the liberty to feel her abdomen and lower fluff by the vent.  No hard object or abnormal feeling of the large intenstines.  She was just broody again.  Broody is in he barn digging holes for nests and sitting on non-existant eggs.  She's got plenty of fresh water and mash to eat.  So far she's still in the barn, day seven and counting.  We'll let you know how it goes.

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