So, you’ve incarcerated a chicken with an eye to cajoling her to go broody. How’s that working out for you?
It’s working out well…just not well enough, methinks. As I read how Aoxa’s hen could not be broken, it further convinces me that I’m on the wrong side of inevitability, here. A hen that will sit a solitary golf ball? And then accept the five chicks that “hatched” from it? THAT’S motherhood.
Buffy has been laying daily in the brooder in the coop, and I’ve been closing the crate door behind her, wrapping the crate with fleece to keep it private and cozy. I’ve also provided water and feed, so there’s no reason for her not to brood, should she be at all inclined.
And she does. Until she doesn’t. She seems quite happy in her private nesting box, and has sat the eggs for as long as eight hours, but always wants to be let out for bedtime. I haven’t had the heart to leave her closed up in the crate overnight against her will.
(By the way, the peppermint oil seems to be doing the trick. I haven’t had food disappear, or seen mouse tracks since I applied it to the crate fleece.)
Yesterday, she was giving me the “let me out; I’m done” song, and I obliged, only to discover she was suffering another stroke-like neurological event. Her head was curled way around to the right, and she was stumbling, unable to get her feet underneath her. I placed her back in the crate with instructions to stay put in the basket until it passed. If it passed.
It did. This is the second of these events that I’ve observed since she was badly mauled six weeks ago, and who knows how many she’s had that I haven’t witnessed? I’ll be keeping a closer eye on her from now on.
As for her her future as a mama…I just don’t know. She sits the eggs first thing in the morning, and has stayed there most the day. But she doesn’t show the immovable, steely resolve that I’ve heard other chicken owners describe. What if I force her into this pattern, and then she’s a bad mama when she gets the chicks?
Have I mentioned that I have absolutely no idea what I’m doing?