17 November 2009

Chicken news

The chickens have been causing some concern recently. This is mainly because they are constantly trying to escape from the orchard. Poor Mike has been steadily improving the orchard's defences since the summer, but they are still managing to breach them. Today we found three eggs in the wrong barn. The dog had found a chicken in there last Wednesday, sitting on a couple of eggs: she had obviously found her way back in there again this week.

We found another hen on the wrong side of the orchard fence at lunchtime and this time we clipped her wing feathers to stop her flying over. The other hen that has been worrying me is the one on the left in this picture:


She hasn't left that nest box for more than ten minutes in the last few days, or laid any eggs. To begin with I thought perhaps she was egg-bound and that was the problem, but she didn't seem to be distressed at all. Eventually I realised that she had gone broody. I knew that Buff Orpingtons were prone to going broody (it means that they make great mother hens), but I honestly wasn't expecting one to start acting motherly after only two months of laying (and I thought it would happen in the spring, rather than late autumn!).

As you can see from the state of her feathers, this bird is popular with the dominant cockerel, so perhaps going broody is her way of having a bit of a break from his attentions...

She was off the nest and eating the evening meal of scratch mix with the others tonight, where the last few evenings she's been resolutely staying in her nest box. I'm hoping this means that she's got bored of the game. In the spring, I'll be happy for her to try and hatch some eggs, but right now I'd rather she was laying. We're still not up to full production yet, but I think there are five laying hens out of the ten at the moment. Will be six if this one gets going again!

5 comments:

Heather said...

Wow, a broody! Kind of fun to see that she would be a good mom later in the game. I have BO's too and at 24 weeks not everyone is laying yet. I hope none of mine go broody quite yet. I got 14 eggs out of 25 chickens today which is officially our highest yet. Can't wait to see what full swing will be.

Amanda said...

It's interesting, isn't it, how long they all take to start laying? I presumed that they would all begin at the same time, but clearly that was completely wrong!

Lou said...

I love your posts about chickens and sustainable living with orchard and veggies. We're trying to do something similar here in southern California, only on a much tinier scale as we live in the midst of 14 million people. I need to finish painting the coop before getting my hens. Please visit my "farm." Or is it a farm if I don't have my chickens yet?

Mo said...

Love hearing about your chicken escapades! :)

Amanda said...

Thanks Lou and Mo! Lou - I think our property is not officially a farm even with the chickens (depending on which definition you choose to use, that is!). Who cares - you and I are both producing good food from our land and that sounds like farming to me, whatever the scale!