Okay – calling all chicken experts, we have a little issue in our hen house. Apparently Marmalade has gone broody. At least that’s what Google says when I asked him. It’s been about four days and Marmalade won’t leave the nesting boxes and if you try to move her, pet her, even sing to her – she pecks at you. And not the nice kind of peck you’d get on the cheek from your Grandma. The only way we’ve been able to get her out is to put a thin piece of plywood under her belly and lift her out – so we can get the eggs she’s hoarding. Then she glares at us like we just stole her baby. It hurts my feelings.
Broody hens are chickens that have decided they NEED to hatch some eggs. I don’t have the heart to tell Marmalade that her eggs will never hatch without a rooster, which we are not getting anytime soon.
Today I went out to get our eggs and I found her “sister” Chena, the other Jersey Giant chicken, SITTING on top of her! I think Chena wants to lay an egg and apparently Marmalade is in the way – so she was just going to lay it on top of her? We have TWO nesting boxes, so I don’t know why she needed to sit on her. Is she being a bully? What is the purpose of sitting on the broody chicken? I asked her about it, but she wouldn’t tell me.
You would think broodiness wouldn’t be a big deal, right? So what if she wants to stay in “bed” all day. But apparently it can cause some major health problems because they barely get off the eggs to eat and drink. With some extreme cases they can starve to death. I noticed already, even after a few days, that Marmalade’s comb is not as red and lush as normal – and I remember reading that this is a good indicator of healthiness.
The other chickens are busy having parties in the rest of the coop. They seem happy and are not giving me baby-stealing-glares.
So what do you recommend I do? How can I help poor Marmalade so that she isn’t so darn anxious, that she stops being broody, and she goes back to squawking with the rest of the flock?
- *LOVE THIS BOOK!* The Joy of Keeping Chickens: The Ultimate Guide to Raising Poultry for Fun or Profit (The Joy of Series) – $10.91
- Storey’s Guide to Raising Chickens, 3rd Edition – $12.36
- Building Chicken Coops For Dummies – $12.16 (reg. $19.99)
- Chicken Coops: 45 Building Ideas for Housing Your Flock – $13.30 (reg. $19.95)
Did you get chickens this summer? Are you thinking about getting backyard chickens?