I’ve been delaying writing this post because I didn’t want to jinx it, but…chickeneers, lend me you ears! The broody has broken!
Abby broke, for the most part, on the very first day of dunking, and has gradually made her way back into normal chicken life. She no longer postures or grumbles, and now comes running with the flock when I call that I have treats.
That said, I’m noticing she is still a bit limpy from the car accident, and her gait has an uneven, rolling quality. Debbie warned me she mightn’t come all the way back, and I’m pleased she’s as back-to-normal as she is. I’m sure all that time abed can’t have helped the healing process. Generally, I wait until she’s joined the group before I put down treats, leaving the quicker girls hopping up and down in frustration. Sorry, Trixie.
Abby seems to have had few reintegration issues, which is a relief. Now it’s a countdown to her first egg back. Some time in the next week, I’ll reopen the coop nests.
Buffy was a much tougher case; she had it bad. I dunked her three times the first day to Abby’s two. She was dunked twice the next day and once the next. At that point, I placed her old crate out under the big maple by the furnace, and whenever she attempted to nest, into the penalty box she went, bitching at me the entire time.
The crate had the advantage of keeping her standing, and cool in the shade, both promoting a cooler body temperature. It also kept her out amongst her flock, which I encouraged by spreading corn and sunflower seeds around the crate.
For a good week, she went straight into the penalty box first in the morning, was released in the early afternoon, at which point she seemed content to graze and dust bathe, but always on her own. Invariably, she’d have to go back in the crate near sundown, when she’d seek out The Hideaway to settle down for the night. She’d go straight from her time out to the coop roosts, at which point she’d scream bloody murder.
Three days ago, something in her changed. She would no longer seek her nest first thing in the morning or last thing at night. She still strutted and postured and threatened, but she was out.
Two nights ago, she put herself to bed on the roosts and I damn near cried. Since then, she has returned to herself, and to her flock, just one of the girls.
So, dunking worked for me, almost immediately in one case, and painfully gradually in another. Could the infamously broody nature of Buffy’ breed be the variable? Or, perhaps, that I had tried to make her go broody earlier in the season? Or the long period of time she spent as a house chicken, recuperating from her injuries?
The world may never know.
In other good news, both girls are now squatting, with athletic enthusiasm. Abby slams herself down for me so violently, I’m afraid she’s going to give her face road rash on the driveway. Buffy likes it up on the roosts, as a good night kiss. After giving her a gentle massage (honestly, I am the bestest rooster ever), I moved on to Coraline, who was begging similar attention. Buffy proceeded to peck at Coraline’s head, violently, until I stopped.
I can’t tell you how lovely it is to once again count my flock “one, to three, one, two, three, one, two, one, two”, as it should be.