Sunday, May 25, 2008

Someone finally got the message!

Since March I have been encouraging the hens to go broody, which means to sit a nest and hatch chicks. Earlier this week, my black Australorp hen began acting crazed. Majorly hormonal. Her tail was straight up in the air, her eyes (which normally appear larger than most of the hens because they are black) got a crazed glow as if all she could see was the nest box.

But the first few days she would set, then after a few hours I would find her running with the other hens. I guess it takes a few days for the hormones to stay level.

Now she's stuck to the nest. The only time she gets out is when another hen comes to lay in that box. Then the visiting hen acts as "egg warmer" so that the black hen can take a run around, eat, drink and poop, always keeping her crazed eye on the box so that she can sit when the visitor leaves.

On Friday I marked five eggs under her, but I imagine there are maybe eight now. She's a big girl and can keep them warm without problems, but I don't want her to have too many eggs under there, so I'm going to start taking any new eggs away.

Gestation is 21 days or so, so if there are chicks it will be around Friday the 13th of June. Auspicious for a black hen!


MaryEllen Schneider said...

How exciting, Johanna! Can't wait to see photos of the chicks.

BTW, how do you encourage hens to "go broody"?

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