Welcome to the enchanting world of broody hens! Have you ever wondered what happens when your beloved hen decides it's time to become a mama? Brace yourself for a delightful rollercoaster ride filled with broody antics, clucks of excitement, and unexpected surprises!
When a hen goes broody, she undergoes some interesting changes. Picture this: she becomes the ultimate drama queen! Her body temperature rises, and she might even pluck a few feathers from her breast area to create the perfect nest. It's like she's redecorating for the upcoming eggstravaganza! Oh, and don't be alarmed if she starts eating and drinking less. After all, she's got some serious motherhood duties to attend to!
Keeping a watchful eye on your broody hen is crucial, as she might lose weight during this transformative phase. While she'll still hop up for quick meals, chances are you won't catch her in the act. She'll be busy being a fierce guardian, puffed up and clucking aggressively or even growling (yes, hens can growl too!). Beware, my friend, around her nest, for she's ready to protect her precious future flock with all her might.
In the accompanying photo, meet The Karens, our wooly Hedemora hens, who decided to share a nest (a bucket with the Happy Hen Bucket Nest Kit). Who knew recycling could be so broodingly chic? It's not uncommon for multiple hens to cozy up together in a nesting area. At one point, we had three fluffy divas squeezing into that bucket! However, Karen 1 eventually moved to her own nest beside the bucket. Oh, and let's not forget our Swedish Flower Hen, who prefers a lofty nest. We might have to play nest relocation experts, hoping she doesn't change her mind about this whole sitting gig!
Now, let's talk about patience, my friend. It takes a grand total of 21 days (or three weeks) for those chicken eggs to hatch into adorable, chirping chicks. To make sure you don't miss the grand entrance, mark your calendar and prepare for the broodiest baby shower ever! Keep chick food and water within reach, close to the ground, so those fluffy wonders can indulge in their first tasty bites. Oh, and unless Mama has left the nest, give those eggs a couple of extra days before disposing of them. Sometimes there are some late chicks.
Here's an exciting fact: any hen can go broody, even without the presence of a rooster. If you dream of hatching precious chicks without a resident rooster, fret not! You can find fertilized hatching eggs for your determined hen to sit on. Some adventurous souls have even experimented with placing day-old chicks under broody hens, but we've yet to try that ourselves. Just remember, keep a watchful eye, as even Mama can get a bit too overprotective and accidentally harm her adorable adoptees. Yes, you read that right—mama drama can take a dark turn!
However, if the pitter-patter of tiny chicken feet isn't in your plans, fear not! There are ways to break a hen from her broody trance. Here are a few strategies to consider:
Temporarily confine her to a pen with a wire floor for a few days. This will help disrupt her broody routine and snap her back to reality. Don't worry; she won't be too thrilled about it and might voice her discontent with a few choice clucks.
Be diligent about collecting eggs regularly and discourage her from sitting in the nest box. By removing the temptation, you can gently nudge her out of her broody mindset. Just be prepared for some stubborn protests and feathery tantrums along the way.
If all else fails, it's time to get creative with temperature control. Place an ice pack or something cool underneath her to lower her body temperature. This little chill session might just be the trick to break her broodiness and restore peace to the henhouse.
Now, whichever path you choose, be prepared for some lively henhouse drama! These hens sure know how to express themselves, so don't be surprised if you get a little backtalk and maybe even a peck or two. It's all part of the enchanting world of broody hens, where feathers fly and personalities soar!
So, gear up for an egg-citing journey filled with fluffy nests, protective mamas, and the occasional stink bomb. Whether you're hatching chicks or breaking broodiness, remember to approach it with a sense of humor and a bucketful of patience. After all, the joy of witnessing new life or restoring harmony in the coop is worth every cluck and peck. Get ready to embrace the brooding adventure like a true chicken whisperer!