Our First Broody Hen Experience

Our Buff Orpington, Maisie, was acting strangely Saturday evening, when we let the girls out for free-ranging. She puttered around a bit and then went back into the hen-house, and into a nest. Maisie

When I took a late breakfast to the girls on Sunday morning after church, she was in the nest and didn’t come out. Obviously something was going on, and I went to the internet for research. I came back out, took her out of the nest, and observed the symptoms: camping in the nest, even without an egg, puffed up like a blow fish, making a low, sort of guttural, “pluck, pluck, pluck.”

Poor darling. The old margarine commercial pops to mind: “It’s not nice to fool Mother Nature!” We do not have a rooster, do not want a rooster, do not want to raise our own little chicks. But with this choice, we are messing around with Mother Nature, who designed the hen to have eggs and sit on them and hatch chickens. Hmmm…I don’t suppose a wind up chick would do the trick.

IMG_0861

Taken out of the nest, she first sat on the grass. Then she began to ‘pluck’ around, and eat grass. She then went to this bag of sand and began to scratch and try to make a nest of it.

Advice ranges the gamut, and I’m attempting a middle of the road. I remove Maisie from the nest several times a day to give her a chance at food and water. She is sweet and gives no trouble. Even Sweetie-Pie, our 6 year-old-grandson, can easily put his hand underneath her. “She growls, but there’s no egg,” he says a bit mystified.

When presented with food, she will eat readily, do her bit of plucking and puffing up, and then make her way around to the hen-house door. She takes water on her way past the water bucket, and then back into the nest.

Supposedly this will go on for 19 to 21 days. In thinking back, we’re hopeful to already have 5 days down, maybe more. Oh, Dear Lord, do not let all the hens go ‘maternal’ at once!

Maisie

This look says it all: “Leave Me Alone!”