Wishin’ and Hopin’
It’s that time of year when a few of the ladies go broody and start sitting in the nest box all day and all night in their overwhelming desire to hatch a brood of chicks. These girls are so devoted to their task that I can’t help but think of that old Dusty Springfield song “Wishin’ and hopin’ and thinkin’ and prayin’ and plannin’ and dreamin’….” It is quite entertaining to behold a broody hen. Even the most gentle and calm chicken becomes transformed into a growling, puffed up, pecking monster. We have three broody girls at the moment, Henny, Violet, and Millie. Two of these girls have proven to be excellent mothers, but since we added 10 new chicks to the flock last year we are not planning to let any of the ladies hatch chicks this year. Our two momma hens last year were Raquel (Raquel, Reinvented) and Violet (Chick Love), and the year before that Mille hatched two chicks (Momma Millie). Although they won’t be hatching any chicks for us this year, their efforts are not entirely in vain. It’s been a little sad here at the farm with the recent loss of our beloved Coco Puff, but having a few broody hens around does lift my spirits and give me a chuckle every now and then. It’s hard not to laugh at the sight of a broody hen leaving her nest for the short break she will take once or twice a day. She will puff her feathers out to make herself look as big and intimidating as she can to let the other hens know that she is not in the mood to be messed with, and then she will dart around the chicken yard at a furious pace, first running over to get a drink of water, usually dropping a huge poo on the way, then she’ll peck at the grass for a few moments, take the quickest dust bath ever, and then dash back to the nest box for the next 12-24 hour shift. I have to admire their commitment. Maybe next year we will consider hatching some more chicks since it is such a fun experience, and who knows, maybe one day we will even hatch some baby turkeys.