Today, when I collected the eggs, the cream legbar hen was in one of the nest boxes, so I collected from the other boxes and left her to it. Later when I came back she was still there, and sitting in that typical broody flat shape. I prodded her out of the way, and she got up complaining about the indignity of it all; loudly, and I collected three eggs, one of which was hers. Being the only layer of blue eggs, it’s a bit of a give away. So she clearly wasn’t laying, as that deed was already done. As I left the hen run I saw her sneak back into the hen house. Must be broody.
So, I spent a bit of time pondering what to do. So far only one of our hens has shown any tendency to go broody.. the buff leghorn, and she is like clockwork. She lays about twenty five eggs, then goes broody. She has only just started laying again, so the clock is ticking. Now I have another broody on my hands. Much pencil sucking and thinking it out. The problem is the queue forming behind the grower coup we built. We have a 9 week old chick that is out with the big girls, six five week old chicks that have just moved into the broody coup and ten Light Sussex eggs in the incubator, with two more weeks to go. Now I realise we should not count our chickens before they are hatched, but we are obliged to be prepared. But it’s so tempting to use a broody, as the hassle and expense of raising chicks is not to be dismissed. Actually the hassle is not too bad, we have to turn the eggs a few times a day with our incubator, and top of the water. We have to clean out the chicks and feed and water them, The power usage of the incubator is very small, but the heat lamp is terrible. We need to look into some other method.. like an electric chicken.. or heat mats or something. A broody of course, only costs the food she eats and the loss of the eggs she wont be laying.
So, I ponder, if we were to slip some eggs under the cream legbar, where could she go when they were hatched… would she be alright out in the run, should we build another coup, maybe bring forward the plan of fencing off an area for growers, but we are busy with the pig plan… and what about when the buff leghorn goes broody too… hmmm
And what do I see when I go out to check the animals later? The cream legbar wandering around looking decidedly unbroody after all.