It’s too early, I know. It’s way too early.
And yet, having done a full clean on the coop Saturday (details to come), and having set up the two brooder crates, I simply could not resist introducing Buffy to the chick crate, to see if she would lay there, in the flannel-lined wicker nest that was hers inside the house. If she would, it might, just might, ignite the passion of broodiness, and get her into the mood to be momma to my impending chicks.
The beginning was decidedly inauspicious. I saw her looking around for a nest yesterday morning, so I picked her up, carried her into the coop, opened up the crate and tried to place her in the wicker nest inside. She freaked out, flew out of the crate and beyond my grasp, exited the pop door, stage left, cursing.
The auguries, as the Greeks used to say, were not good.
But I am nothing if not stubborn, so I tried again today when I saw her yelling at Maisie to clear the Hideaway. This time, I controlled her wings, and was successful getting her into the crate, and the crate door closed. She seemed perplexed, but not perturbed. She settled into the nest, grumbling.
A light bulb went off, so I returned with two of her old eggs from the refrigerator, each marked with a pencil-line equator so I could distinguish it from any new ones she might lay. Once I put those underneath her, her demeanour changed immediately, and she seemed quite content. I flipped the mama switch.
Two hours later, I returned to find she had laid, and was sitting the eggs quite peacefully. I opened the door and she slowly, without panic, left the crate. Okay. Good start.
I replaced her newly-laid egg with another pencil-marked one from the fridge. My theory (ha!) is that she’ll get more and more serious about caring for the eggs as they accumulate into a clutch. That’s what happened in the house during her recovery, anyway.
With over three weeks before the chicks are due to arrive, I am really stretching it thin (incubation length for chickens being 21 days), but if she doesn’t get really serious about setting them for a few days, it just might work…