Being Broody

Thunderstorms tonight. Severe weather for us in upstate New York, but not severe compared to the weather that has passed through Oklahoma. We’re feeling awful for the people who have had their lives devastated there.

I have one child snuggling in bed with me tonight while the storm makes rain, thunder and lightning outside, and the other is being brave in her own bed. I don’t mind the weather and I am hoping the chickens are all dry, but I’m too comfortable to go outside to check. I’m sure they are all in the hen house except for Laura, who prefers to sleep outside on a high roost (she’s locked up in the coop, protected from animals and with roof over her head, but with open air all around her).

Tocker being broody

One hen is in the hen house but is not on the roost – she’s in the nest box and I can’t get her out. It’s Tocker. A few days ago she went into the nest box after lunchtime and stayed there until the next morning. I’m a new chicken farmer as you know, not much more than a year of this under my belt. My first thought was that she was trying hard to lay an egg but couldn’t, and was egg-bound. The egg must have been stuck. It seemed a reasonable explanation because the chickens have been laying abnormally large eggs lately. Maybe a large egg was stuck in Tocker.

It’s a few days later and now I know what is happening with her. She’s broody. She wants to sit on a clutch of eggs and hatch them. Lots of people see broodiness as a bad thing, and while I wouldn’t wish it on any of my hens, I would much rather have a broody hen than an egg-bound hen. I’m so relieved! Broodiness won’t kill a chicken, but a stuck egg might! Broodiness doesn’t require medical intervention, but a stuck egg does! Broodiness I can deal with.

That said, I’m new to this game and I don’t know what is in store. Every chance I get, I pull Tocker out of the nest box. I make it unwelcoming when she’s there by opening the door to the box and talking to her nonstop. She goes out on her own from time to time to frolic, but it seems I blink and she’s right back. The other hens are a little irritated because she’s taking up valuable nest box space when they need it in the morning (imagine having a house full of 10 teenage girls who suddenly have access to only two mirrors every morning when they were used to three).

We shall see what happens with Tocker and her broodiness. This, like all the chicken adventures that have been presented this past year is new territory. It’s a chance to learn.

That’s the story with the hens. My girls (‘A’ and ‘H’) are awesome. They are crafty and smart. So is our cat Grace.


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