|Dolly and a baby Dottie Speckles hiding from Feathers as they explore the run.
Poor Dolly, last week she went broody again. As most of you know, Dolly is our perpetually broody girl, only taking a few weeks off in between broody episodes to live and act like a normal hen. At all other times, you can find her sitting in one of the nesting boxes…waiting. I like to think that she is like an egg coach for the other girls-like a Lamaze instructor to the other hens. Their eggs are treasures to her. She sits in her empty nesting box, ready for the others to arrive in the adjacent boxes to lay their eggs. I am sure at this point Dolly is just dreaming of those warm little eggs for herself.
After the other girls vacate the boxes, Dolly stealthfully springs into action. Ever so sneakily she makes her way over to the other nesting boxes. With her beak, she delicately rolls the warm sweet egg over the lip of the nesting box across the coop floor. She takes breaks, as this is very stressful work. The egg must stay intact. The other girls must not catch her in action. The others must stay out in the run, as she quickly steals the egg for herself.
When I arrive at the nesting boxes in late afternoon, Dolly is sitting in her nest. The other nesting boxes are vacant of eggs. She flattens out her body and poofs up. I know she has eggs. As I lift her up off the nest, an assorted collection of various eggs an array of colors, sizes and shapes are all warmly nestled together under her bare, feather plucked breast. And so it has gone each and every day that she has been broody for the past 3 years.
At first I felt sad that I could not continually supply her with fertilized eggs for her to hatch. It weighed on my mind until I decided that sometimes, no matter what, you just can’t change the composition of individuals. Dolly is happy. Dolly is healthy and of a robust weight. For the most part, she is well loved by the others and an essential girl to the flock. We all would miss her terribly if she was not around and I love and accept her just the way she is. Sometimes, we envision how we think folks should live their lives or how we can make them better. Sometimes, it is best just to leave things as they be. She is happy and who am I to judge her? She makes her own choices about her life’s adventure. All I can continue to do is love, support and show her kindness no matter how frustrating the situation is to me. After all, broodiness just might be her reason for living. Perhaps some eggs will be in her future down the road when there is room at “the inn”.