Sunday, August 16, 2009

Chicken Little aims to be a mother hen

Chicken Little has gone SOOOOO broody. For two weeks she wouldnt get off the nest, she would hop onto any new laid egg and claim it as her own, chirruping and complaining when I would put her out of the henhouse.

Along with this new behavior was a lot of feather fluffing, strange exotic dances and sudden leaping into the air with frantic wing flapping.She kept up a continual scolding "book, book book" sound. She refused to be a part of the hen social scene. No scratching and digging, no lolling about in her dust bath. The compost pile lost all its attraction and she could not even be tempted with wiggly worms held in front of her beak

So we relented and took a day trip along with Little in a carrier box, to find her some fertilised eggs. The farm where I had bought some of the other hens just had three eggs that hadn't made it to the fridge yet. So we slipped them under our little obsessive-compulsive and she was a very happy hen.

Little is very devoted to her adopted eggs. They are from a flock of white rock hens, like our Serena, but I'm sure Little wont mind. Hatching day is the 25th or 26th of august.

Each morning I make her get off the nest, covering the eggs with a warmed towel, so she can stretch her legs and have a gigantic poop. She wont mess in the nest at all. When I put her back in after a few minutes of her strange rituals, she is SO attentive to those eggs, hooking her beak around them to push them in under herself. Then she fluffs out her feathers and settles down until the next interruption.
This is all amazing to me, how animals and birds know just what to do with no instructions or experience to go by.

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