As a new chicken mama, I was not prepared for a hen to go broody. I noticed that our Cochin Bantam was spending a lot of time in the nesting area. This was the chicken that adopted us by wandering into our yard one day. I told my husband that I was concerned. He went and checked on her and discovered that she was sitting on eggs and told me she was broody.
I was not familiar with this concept so I did Internet research to find out what I could do about it. I learned that this is when a chicken wants to lay on eggs and hatch baby chicks. The problem with our little one being broody was that there would be no baby chicks since the eggs were unfertilized. As I learned about this phenomenon, I was able to share with some of my friends who also did not know what it meant to be broody. One thing I read about to break the broodiness was frozen bottles of water in her nesting area, but she was undeterred. I also read about removing her from her nesting area. She made sure to let me know that she was not happy about this. I learned early on that a broody chick is a moody chick.
I was distressed to read that this breed of chicken was especially prone to broodiness and that it was hard to break bantams. This little one is quite a stubborn and feisty girl. Since we only have two chickens, it was not practical to isolate her completely away from the flock, but each morning when I went to let the girls out, I would take her and isolate her in my cat carrier until the other chicken had a chance to lay her egg. This was a very vocal time for our little bantam. Once I was able to collect the egg from our other chicken, I closed up the coop until the end of the day. During this time she would eat, drink, and play in the yard, but she always had her eye on the coop and sometimes would hang out even on top of it.
She wanted in bad. I thought it was so funny how whenever we opened the coop, she was right there ready to go in and claim her spot. Even if we tried to be sneaky with opening it, she was there. I never was able to break her, but an outsider did the trick. One morning I went to check on the chickens and found that our Bantam was out of the coop. I was so happy because I am thinking the broodiness was finally over. I was in for quite the shock when I went to check on eggs and found a snake in the coop. I, like Indiana Jones had to ask why it had to be snakes! My husband was at work and I contacted him about it. I really wanted him to come home and take care of it.
I did not know if it was a poisonous snake and my husband wanted me to try to kill it, I knew I did not have that in me. I could picture me trying to kill the snake and failing miserably. We finally could figure out through pictures that it did not look poisonous and was likely a chicken snake. I managed to poke at it to get it out of the coop and wait until my husband came home and ran the snake off for good. I got a kick out of watching the chickens check out the nesting area once the snake was gone. Our other chicken was ready to lay her egg, but was so uncertain about the situation. After that, my husband built a better coop that would be less likely to house snakes.
It was the snake that finally broke the broodiness of our little hen and eventually she was back to laying her cute little white eggs. At first, we had to take her out of the coop because of her broodiness, but after the snake, we found that we had to put her back into the coop at the end of the day. The situation with the broodiness and the snake certainly tested my resolve about being a chicken mama. I did learn from the situation and now I try to catch any signs of broodiness before it becomes a big problem. I call myself a reluctant chicken farmer, but now I can’t imagine life without chickens. I could however do without the snakes.
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