If you’re not familiar with chicken type stuff, you may not know what broodiness is…
Here’s a decent explanation: http://www.animalloversweb.com/article_chicken_broody.html
In short, what it means is that a chicken has decided she wants to be a mommy! Many modern breeds of chickens have had that tendancy actually bred out of them. Most chicks are hatched after being incubated in a mechanical incubator – not under a Mommy Chicken! (Although our Welsumers were hatched under a Mom – and had decidedly different behavior patterns as baby chicks compared to their incubated peers!)
Typically, broodiness comes on in the spring of a chick’s 2nd year of life. So imagine our surprise to find that Shelly is broody! She’s only 8 months old, and it’s as wintery as wintery comes! (We’ve got about a foot of snow on the ground! The wind chill is below freezing!)
The first couple of days I thought it was just a coincidence that every time I went to collect eggs that she was on a nest – I figured she was just taking her time laying. But it soon became obvious that she was more than just taking her time. She actually started to hoard eggs! Then she started to fight back if you went to collect the eggs she was hoarding!
The problem, of course, with Shelly’s broodiness being that we have no rooster – so obviously, we have no fertilized eggs – which means – no babies possible! Bummer!
To be honest, William has been talking about wanting to start an egg business in the Spring. He really wants some Americauna’s to round out the flock so that we’ve got some really colorful eggs to offer. We’ve debated buying chicks in the fall, or hoping for a broody hen to be able to try and hatch some eggs. We just didn’t know to think that we’d have a girl go broody this soon!
So… tonight – after checking on the girls as they were getting tucked in for the night, we realized that right in the nest box – next to the door that is certainly not weather tight – poor Shelly was covered with a dusting of snow. (There are 50 mph winds tonight – I guess it makes sense that some would get blown in!) So we decided we had to get her moved.
John and I rigged up a temporary home for Shelly in the pantry and moved her in. We’ll see what the plan will evolve to be. If we can get our hands on some fertilized Americauna eggs, then we may well be trying to hatch some chicks way sooner than anticipated!