Chickens Stories from Our Nest

Hen Gone Broody

Dolly, a lavender Silkie Bantam, is our best and was our only egg layer up until a couple of days ago.  Yesterday when freshening up the three nesting boxes, I found a rouge egg laid in a corner piled under shavings.  It was smaller than Dolly’s and pointier; another silkie had a laid an egg.  Who laid it is still under going investigation. 

Silkie Bantams typically lay approximately three eggs per week.  However, Dolly seems to be in overdrive.  She has laid an egg everyday.  I love getting her fresh eggs daily, but I finally realized why.  She wants to start a family.

Amongst the coldest and snowiest days so far this winter, her hormones and maternal drive have begun to overpower her chicken brain.  She has babies on the brain.  Yesterday, she spent the majority of the day sitting in her favorite nesting box.  She just sat and sat and sat.  No matter what I put in the run to lure her out, she sat. 

I have not been able to touch her at all until yesterday.  Typically she is skittish and shys away from me.  Yesterday was different.  I stroked her back and she purred.  I thought that maybe she is not feeling well.  I picked her up from the box and held her in my lap.  I thought that cooling her down might do the trick.  I gave her body a quick check, she seemed fine. 

Over the course of the afternoon, I repeated removing her from the box and trying to break her of this broodiness.  Each time after I returned her to the coop, she would go into the run, scratch around for about a minute and then return again to the box.  Finally, around 3:30pm, I checked.  She was still in her box.  I felt underneath her body and there it was, a small silkie egg kept warm under the feathers of her breast.  I gently removed the egg from underneath her.  She then went out into the run.  She stayed out with the rest of the flock until it was time to come in for the night.  Great, I thought, she has snapped out of it. 

This morning, the whole flock came out into the coop to scratch, drink and feed on delicious treats.  When I returned from dropping my son off at the bus, I checked on the chickens again.  Dolly had returned to her box; sitting on invisible eggs for now.  I am not sure how long this will last, but her drive to be a mother is strong.  Maybe, we can let her do just that come Spring.