Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Eunice Goes Broody

While on vacation in July we got a call of 'concern' from Andrea, our vacation chicken sitter supervisor (Lauren's mom) that Eunice wouldn't leave the nesting box inside the coop.... I knew right away she'd gone 'broody' - that maternal condition when a hen sets herself on the eggs for hatching. Unfortunately for Eunice, all the setting in the world wasn't going to hatch those eggs as there's no rooster in their lives. We thought about coming home early from vacation but a reassuring call to Sharon, Naomi's daughter, and mother to many chickens, convinced us that Eunice would be fine, she just needed access to food and water until we returned.

So, armed with the gloves and determination, and with the neighbors to watch, I faced off with Eunice in the coop, prepared for her maternal instincts to defend her nest. Instead, all I did was give her a little prod and she fluffed her feathers and squawked and then got up from the nest where 6 eggs (none of them were hers) sat, warm and unhatched. I sadly threw out all the eggs since they probably were no good to eat and closed the coop door to keep Eunice out. She was miserable, Delores was unhappy, and after a few hours I opened the door and they went back in to the nest.

For the next week Eunice was in and out of the nesting box, some days spending most of her time there, but eventually she lost interest and returned to her normal behavior. But she hasn't laid an egg in over two weeks...

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