Wednesday, May 7, 2014
Broody hen: part 2
Since my last post, I have read more about broody chickens. It seems the most determined brooders won't get up to eat or drink (or poop) for weeks, so they can get sick and weak or worse. I can tell Penny is a determined brooder. Fortunately, I'm determined too.
After 3 hours on the cold cement floor of the garage, Penny was all pooped out (literally, not figuratively), had eaten her food and enjoyed her water. Ready to reclaim the garage, I put her back in the chicken run with the other hens. She scratched in the dirt and motored around. Triumphantly, I went back inside to clean up the garage. Penny giggled to herself at my gullibility and went right back to her sitting spot in the coop to resume her broody posture. See what I mean? Determined.
Penny's extended absence from the coop gave Sheila the courage to settle into a nesting box to lay. I don't want to disturb her, and I'm surprised that Penny hasn't objected either. Otherwise, the garage internment was a fail. She probably needs more than 3 hours (most recommendations say overnight and up to 5 days). I have remembered that our cat carrier has a hinged wire lid, so I could put her in that upside-down (so she sits on the wire) overnight in the center of the run, but I'd like to save chicken jail for a last resort. Next up: a cold bucket bath for her butt and general internment with the other hens in the run, no daytime access to the coop.
It's a warm sunny day. She won't love me for the dip, but we just can't go on this way.
Sorry, Penny, but it's for your own good.