Poor Dolly, she has now been brooding in her nesting box for four days. She really wants those babies. Yesterday, Dolly did not lay any eggs. She will typically lay two days in a row and then take a day off. However, we did find out who was laying the large eggs. It was not Tilly after all, it was Oyster Cracker, our big Buff Orpington.
Yesterday, as Dolly has taken residence in the “favorite” nesting box, Oyster Cracker wanted in; never mind that we have two other boxes. She was determined to lay her second egg in the same nesting box that Dolly occupied. She shoved her way in and made herself comfortable. After a couple of hours, I went out to check on them. Oyster Cracker no longer occupied the box. Dolly had made her way back into the center of the box and underneath her warm chest feathers was Oyster Cracker’s egg! I gently slid it out. She made a quiet low growl. I petted her on the back and felt her body. She was toasty warm. I felt her chest. Her crop seemed unusually large for a chicken that was not eating much. I decided that since Christmas was quickly approaching that I probably should take her to the vet and have her crop evaluated.
We have a fantastic vet in our area that treats chickens. I understand that this is a rarity, so I consider myself a very lucky girl. The vet agreed that her crop seemed larger than normal. She also felt that Dolly had become dehydrated. The vet cleaned out Dolly’s crop and filled it with water. She also gave us a medication to help with her digestion. Thank goodness that the crop was not sour and she did not have anything stuck in her crop.
When I opened the coop this morning, Dolly did not come out. She was in her nesting box. I took her out, gave her medicine and then set her free in the run. She did not do much socializing. She scratched a little and ate some corn in the run and then went back to her box. I created a small water dish that I suspended in her nesting box. I also placed a small amount of food near her. The vet said that she could be broody for about 3 weeks. I guess nature will just have to take it’s course. I cannot imagine baby chicks in the middle of Winter. I’m not sure they would survive. I’ll consider this practice for motherhood in the Spring. I just hope she is broody then!