It’s not easy being poultless.
I know it’s temporary, but there was a great deal of preparation and build up to…nothing. Worse than nothing, actually. I dismantled the poult brooder yesterday afternoon, leaving only the dog crate for the chicks. An unpleasant task, make no mistake.
Hermione was laying in the wicker nest inside the chick brooder at the time, and she was uneasy about the entire state of affairs. Stepdaughter the Elder was all excited about her setting the nest in the brooder until I mentioned those two magic words: Production Red. Hermione may be a crazy-ass maverick, but she’s unlikely to be the broody we’re looking for. Highly unlikely.
I have been leaving the chick brooder open these days, to see if anyone would hear the tick, tick, tick of mamahood. Coraline’s been laying in there regularly, but leaves shortly after laying. Buffy has abandoned it for other nests lately, so I wrote her off.
Looks like it’s gonna be me and the Brinsea, which is fine, I was just hoping for a smoother transition to a unified flock.
Then something very, very strange happened.
On my way out to Agway this morning (turns out I could return the opened turkey starter crumbles for a refund, so…that doesn’t suck) I found an egg in The Annex. Pip is the Annex Queen these days, and it looked like a smaller version of a Pip egg, but she laid yesterday afternoon. Hmmm…what gives? Buffy sometimes lays in The Annex, and it could be a Buffy egg, I suppose…
Then I heard a terrible squawking in the coop. Buffy was setting the eggs in the wicker basket, and Coraline was impatient to get in there to lay. What the?
I redid the math. I had seen Buffy in The Annex first thing this morning. It must be a Buffy egg in The Annex. But if it was…why was Buffy sitting with such determination in the brooder?
So, I did what any rational, moderately-desperate person would do: I locked her in the crate and closed the fleece over the door. Sorry, Coraline; lay somewhere else. I have an experiment to conduct.
I stuck an ear in the coop upon my return to hear no complaining. It’s my intention to leave Buffy in there as long as she doesn’t scream to be let out. It might well be true that one can’t make a broody, but I’m damned well going to try. If she stays in there happily for a few more hours, I’ll set her up with water and feed.
And so…I wait.