When we choose breeds of chicks last year we referred to an oft used resource – Henderson’s Chicken Chart. Things that I looked at were how cold tolerant they were, how hardy they were, whether or not they were good forager, whether they were a consistent layer, and what size egg they were known to lay. I also like to choose breeds that aren’t quite as common – if we can help keep a breed from extinction – then happy day! I also pay attention to that column that tells what a breed’s likeliness to go broody is. Cause, while it’s nice to have a mama hen now and then, it really does do a number on egg production. A broody hen will set eggs for 21 days, and then for the next 4 to 6 weeks will be all consumed with raising said chicks. (And her pals in the flock will sometimes sympathize with her so much, they’ll slow down laying, too!) Then she’ll likely moult. Then, when she gets back around to it, will start to lay again. It’s totally the easiest way to raise chicks, but well – like I said, puts a bit of a damper on the egg production.
That’s her at about 10 o’clock in this picture. She’s decidedly a blonde. A sweet little bird, a little shy, but a great layer of large white eggs.
One of the things I’d learned about Minorca’s was the fact that they pretty much don’t go broody.
Leave it to us to end up with one that has!
Meet Buffy the Peeved:
She sat here for about a week – strangely enough, taking one afternoon off – but then went back to broodiness. After a few more days, we finally decided to get some fertile eggs to let her set.
So I took a little road trip south to http://www.eggs2u.com and came home with a dozen fertile eggs.
Here they are, nestled in a bed of hay, just waiting for Buffy to come warm ’em up!
4 Easter Eggers
2 Rhode Island Reds
2 New Hampshire Reds
So – I went and got Buffy from the nest box, transferred her to the Broody Mama part of the coop, and expected her to sing the Hallelujah Chorus for bringing her REAL eggs!
She was totally PEEVED! Why, pray tell?
Cause I took her away from THESE eggs:
Yes, they are wooden.
No amount of explaining would quiet her down. So I left her to stew.
An hour or so later I found her thus:
MUCH happier, don’t you think?
So… we’re on hatching watch. We should have chicks sometime around the 25th or 26th.
I can’t wait!