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Wednesday, March 16, 2016

The Repeat Offender

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Yup.  That's our Daisy again.  She's a habitual broody.  She is now officially a hen, but just barely.  It seems she's gone broody every 3 months since the day she hatched.
I made a promise to the flock that the first one to go broody at the end of March or beginning of April would be allowed to hatch the newest additions to the flock.  Meriwether is my proven broody.  She's a sweet, patient hen, and a good and caring mother.  Daisy is unproven in this field.  She is persistent though, I'll give her credit for that.
Yes, I DO have an incubator.  In fact, the last hatching ended on Monday. Tuesday we caught Daisy sitting all day in a nest box, flattened out, growling and hissing like a vampire being shown the dawn.  I much prefer my own chicks be hatched and raised by a broody.  She hatches, knows when there's a bad egg, raises the chicks, shows them how to hunt, and integrates them into the flock. DEAL!
A quick text to a fellow poultry breeder down the road and I was headed home with 4 maran eggs, 4 cream leg bar eggs, and 2 quarts of ice cream. (I had to stop at the pizza place, it's right there! I'm pretty sure it's the law.).
Sure, I could have thrown my own fertile eggs under Daisy, but this go around, I'm adding a little genetic diversity to the flock.  I need another Maran rooster.  Zap is tired keeping up with all the henfolk, racing from one end of the acreage to another when the flock splits up.  Using one of his offspring as another rooster could end up being a genetic crap shoot down the road.  So new blood it is.
I also added an Olive egg, which should yield an even DARKER laying olive egg hen, and a Meriwether egg, which will give me a generation 1 olive egg bird, hopefully with its mom's sweet nature.
I set the eggs in a carton, in a bag over night.  This will allow any air cells that jiggled loose in the trip to settle and the bag will hold the humidity in.  (We're in fire season and the RH is hovering at 20%)
First thing in the morning when I let the flock out, I was please to see that Daisy was still ensconced in her box, pretending to be invisible, but ready to rip my hand off should I see through her disguise.  She was sitting in the bottom center box, which is a heavily used box.  I placed all the marked eggs into the upper right box, and pulled her from her toasty place. 
Usually this is where my broody hens hop back in to the egg filled nest.  Daisy took this as her morning alarm clock, stretched, and BOLTED out the door!  This is usually what she does when she is just PLAYING at broody. She will then play all day and sleep in the next box at night, like it's a Holiday Inn Spa.
I immediately became worried that this was another of her fake outs.  While I pondered the fate of the newly placed eggs: cake, cookies, or omelet, I heard a spine chilling growl and saw Zap try to approach Daisy.  She inflated to over twice her size, put her wings out and let out another growl.  Zap backed off and chased Lucy around the coop instead.
Daisy blessed the yard with one of those famous broody poops, started eating like a madwoman and then raced back into the run.  She then ate a ridiculous amount of feed and then filled up at the water trough.  Regaining her composure, she waddled up the ramp and stood in the doorway where she preened, and preened, and preened until EVERY feather was just right.

I picked her up and showed her the box full of eggs and she settled right in to her lumpy mattress. 
About an hour later, I went out to kick the web camera again, and found Daisy back in her bottom center box.  Well, if that's where she wants to be, then that's the spot.  I handed her each egg one by one, while she tucked them under her in their proper place.  And that's where she sits.
Later, when she is more attached to her job, we'll move her to the broody house. We decided to reassign the little City Bitty Coop as such.  It gives the broody hens a quiet place to spend the day without being bothered, or sat upon, by other hens.  After the chicks are a couple of days old, she'll come out with them and start playing with the rest of the flock.  Eventually, she'll return with them to the main coop, like they were always there.
In 21 more days, we should have a little parade of fluff butts.

1 comment:

  1. Woo-hooo. This is exciting stuff, i am stuck to my seat, glued to my screen for the next update!! xx