I hope I don’t jinx it by saying this, but after months of waiting and two prior plans for hatching eggs failed, we finally have a broody hen setting on some fertilized eggs! I am a bit surprised that it is Violet who has decided that she’s ready to be a momma. Violet is none too fond of Mr. Brown the rooster, and she has run many laps around the chicken pasture trying to escape his amorous overtures. Which is why it seems a bit funny to me that she’s ready to be a momma, because you can’t get fertile eggs without a rooster, and she clearly does not care for roosters one bit! Lucky for her, several of her flock mates are more than willing to accommodate the advances of Mr. Brown, and I was able to collect fertile eggs for Violet to set on without her having to ruffle her tail feathers doing the dirty work.
Violet had been broody for about a week when I decided to give her some eggs to hatch. The only problem was that she was alternating between two different nest boxes. I think this was because she gets picked on by the more dominant hens who want to lay their egg in their favorite nest box and will peck mercilessly at the occupier of said nest box until they vacate the premises. Before I could give Violet eggs to set, I needed to be sure she would be able to stay with them for the 21 days needed to hatch the eggs. We set up a separate pen in the corner of the coop, complete with food, water, and room to stretch her wings where Violet could incubate the eggs without being disturbed by the other ladies.
You’d think when I removed her from the nest box she had been sitting in that had no eggs and put her into her new luxurious accommodations where I had placed a dozen eggs into the nest box she would be more than happy to settle in, but no, she was quite distressed at the change of scenery. She had it programmed into her little chicken brain that she needed to return to the original nest box she had been sitting in. She clucked anxiously and paced back and forth, scraping her beak along the wire enclosure just like an inmate dragging his tin cup across the bars of his cell. Poor Violet! I opened up the roof of her pen, and she jumped out and went scurrying back to the old nest box. I tried again at bedtime, with no better luck. I tried again the next day, but this time I waited until she took her daily 15 minute break from the nest box to go outside and eat, drink, and poop, and when she headed back to the coop I grabbed her and put her in the broody pen we had set up for her. Violet still objected but not nearly as much as the day before, so I left her alone for an hour and when I returned she had settled in to the new nest box. Hopefully this time our chick dreams will come true, and in 21 days we’ll have new baby chicks at the farm.