Spring has sprung! It's finally gorgeous here in Chicago and after our crazy Winter of polar vortex's the sunny weather is soooo very welcome. Hard to believe that only 2 weeks ago I was still using a Winter coat. That's Chicago weather for ya.
Having chickens has made me an early riser and I can't help but notice all the birds chirping and making nests. I see bees, and even frisky squirrels. If you ever go into your yard at the crack of dawn in the Spring you will notice everything is trying to mate and multiply.
My little flock of single lady chickens are no exception to this crazy Spring fever. They don't gotta man. Never seen a rooster in their entire existence, yet by nature they too have a biological clock. Teeny, my favorite chicken's clock, is ticking BIG TIME!
Teeny is broody. How do I know? Here are her telltale signs...
1. She walks around with puffed up feathers and looks like a little ball. She also makes this new sound "ook ook ook"
2. She has removed a large amount of her breast feathers so her eggs can feel the warmth of her body.
3. She insists on sitting on her eggs. And when I remove her eggs she still sits in her nest. If the other chickens lay eggs she sits on their's. She will even sit on a golf ball! Her eggs will never hatch unfortunately, since we have no rooster.
Here is an older video earlier this year when she was broody for a day...
4. Teeny is a moody broody. i.e. Teeny non-broody: "Cupcake get out of my way" vs. Teeny broody: "Get out of my way Beaoootch" (then chases and plucks feathers out)
5. She shrills at me when I remove her from her nest and makes sure to give me a nasty look.
So what's a city chicken owner to do?
If I let her sit on her eggs they will never hatch, we have no rooster so her eggs are not fertile. Secondly broody chickens don't eat as much, lose weight and are more susceptible to catching lice after sitting for hours in the same spot. Thirdly broody chickens will stop laying eggs.
What no eggs!! I decided to try and break her outta this trance.
The master plan:
Honestly, I wish I could just toss her a pamprin and be done with this, but chicken keeping would be no fun if it wasn't challenging at times.
The first day. I collected the eggs often. Everytime she ended up in her nest box I removed her. I did this for an entire day only to find that instead of roosting at night she was in her egg box!
Tough love today. I made a broody jail. This morning she was still "ook ook ooking" so I new she was still broody. By mid morning I found her sitting in her nest box. So I put her in broody jail.
I went out to run errands and came back to find her still "ook ook ooking" in jail. I let her out to forage and she headed directly into her nest - UGH! Needless to say, I just threw her back into the slammer.
We shall see... I do have a plan B if this doesn't work out.
Here are the other chickens making a prison visit.