After seeing a way-cool documentary on turkeys over Thanksgiving, I was inspired to do a little bird photo shoot of my own. So I used my afternoon off to hang with the chippies and snap a few pics of the ladies kicking up bugs in the backyard leaves. Obviously domestic hens in an an East Austin backyard is not quite as majestic as wild turkeys in the Florida wilderness, and I don’t have quite the same clout and photography abilities as the masterminds at PBS, but I still had a good afternoon hanging with the chicks.
Poor Blondie has been brooding lately. I don’t like it.
Brooding is apparently cyclical behavior, and not really all that uncommon in chickens, but I’m still not a fan. The thought of staying put in that little box in 100-degree weather, day-after-day, for hours on end in the hopes of hatching an unhatchable egg is most definitely depressing (not to mention it keeps us from being able to collect the eggs from under her). Not only is her brooding behavior tragically hopeless, it’s also dangerous. We’ve already lost one chicken to heat, and I’m not keen to lose another.
I’ve heard when chickens brood in nature, roosters bring food to the nest, but seeing as how we have no roosters, this brooding businesses poses a problem. To get the stubborn gal off the hot seat, we’ve taken to gently nudging her off the nest, locking her out of the coop and bribing her with mealworms. For now, the mealworms at least distract her long enough that we can collect the eggs from the nest and clean it up a bit before she starts circling the coop, searching for a way back in. I’m just hoping our bribery efforts will continue to work as she goes through this little hormonal phase.
Oh sweet Blondie, I hope you perk up soon.