Chickens Stories from Our Nest

Musical Nesting Boxes

Fifi

Fifi is over being broody!  It seems as though this little fluff ball had been broody for over a month.  During these past couple of days, I could see the veil lifting.  She has been first with Feathers to jump out the coop door in the morning and I began to find her spending more time in the run and less time in the nesting boxes.  I felt so happy and relieved.

I always get nervous when the Silkies go broody.  They seem to be broody all the time and being broody is not easy on their bodies.  They eat very little and spend most of their time in a zen like trance that is sometimes difficult to get past.  When I find them broody, I like to reach into their nesting box a couple times per day, scoop them up and force them to stretch their legs out in the run.  Whenever I do this,  it is like they are stunned.  It takes them a minute to realize what is happening, who they are with and what exactly I am doing.  As soon as they realize, I barely have time to return and close the nesting box lid and vooomp, the broody girl has returned.

Imagine my surprise today when I went out late morning to give the girls their treats and Dolly was in the nesting box.  Like clockwork, she is dialed in to broodiness, every other month.  It was easy to confirm.  I lifted her up and found a colorful assortment of three eggs underneath her breast.  I am coming to the realization that this is just who she is and how her body works.  It makes me feel like I understand her and in someways, love her more for it.  I returned inside the house and continued on with my day. Later in the afternoon, I fed the girls some scratch.  The weather was getting cooler as the sun was setting. I took Dolly out of her box and let her enjoy the treat with the others.

Once nightfall arrived, I went out to lock up the coop.  I was in for a real surprise.  I opened up the nesting box door, expecting to shoo Dottie Speckles out and there I found it. Three girls, including Oyster Cracker were inside all three of the boxes. I first gently shooed Oyster Cracker out of the left box. She groggily left and walked off toward the favorite roost. In the middle box, I found Fifi. She was sound asleep so I picked her up and guided her feet to the vacant roosting bar. In the right box, I found Feathers. She too was sound asleep and stirred as I guided her next to her sister. Then, in darkness, I blindly felt in each nesting box for any eggs that had been laid between the afternoon and now. When I got to the box on the left where Oyster Cracker had been, there I found Dolly. Oyster Cracker had been sitting on top of her! I scooped her up as well and then placed her next to her fluffy Silkie sisters. Just when I think I have them figured out, they change their behavior. Tonight, it was like a clown car at the circus. The one expected chicken who like to sleep in the nesting boxes wasn’t there but four different ones were.  The hen who was supposed to be broody decided today that another Silkie, Dolly, should now assume that role.


This post is linked up to Deborah Jean’s Dandelion House Farmgirl Friday Hop.

Photo Credit:  Tilly’s Nest

 

  • Hello Mother Hen! I love your chicken tales! Thanks for sharing!
    hugs,
    Deb

  • Hello Melissa,

    We are building an insulated coop over the winter, anticipating starting our first flock in the spring. We live near Algonquin Park in Canada. We follow your blog faithfully and learn so much! We wish that we could 'follow' you through a day of caring for your hens – there must be almost a rhythm to it. Thanks for your help..we want to do a good job with this.

  • Hi Miriam! Thank you so much for following along. One of my goals was to be a resource for fellow chicken owners, sharing what I have discovered along the way. If you haven't already, be sure to check out two posts on the resources page about "wintering the coop" and "heating the coop". Be sure to cover the insulation very well so the chickens cannot have any access to it. Also, I would suggest covering the run in thick plastic that you can find at stores like the Home Depot in the paint department. http://www.backyardchickens.com also a great resource too. Good luck and stay warm up there in Canada! I bet it is just beautiful!~Melissa