Thursday, 14 July 2011

Normal Service Has Been Resumed..almost

Milly, my Cream Legbar and now my oldest Girl, has been broody for some time.  A long time.  In fact, she had just gone broody when Lily died on 30th May.   She has been coming out of the nestbox, of her own accord, to eat and terrorise the others;  and she has been out of the nestbox when I turf her out several times a day.

Recently, she's been stopping the others from going in to the nest box to lay. Either that, or the others know she steals their eggs and are reluctant to lay while she's there.  Whatever the cause, the morning row has escalated to the point where we have to get up at some ungodly hour and go and see what's happening. Not that anything ever is. When we open the egg port door, the offending hens just look at us as though butter wouldn't melt in their beaks,  and we don't hear a peep from any of them.

On Mondaymorning I had had enough of the morning ritual,  and at 5 am I went to the shed and got the broody cage out. It's a collapsable dog crate - fantastic purchase - which goes up in second (even when the operator is bleary eyed and half asleep).  Food hooked on, water hooked on,  peckablock hooked on,  and Milly was inserted. I went back to bed.     

Later, I went and put a cucumber in as well, and Milly just moaned at me.  I'm not really sure what she was moaning about really - it's bigger than the nestbox, she has foood drink and treats within beak reach. Once everyone had finished laying, shut the pop hole on the Cube and let Milly out of prison.  She took out her frustration by going around and pecking everyone on the head.

On Tuesday, we had another round of bokking so I put her in the sin bin while Custard and Tilda were trying to lay.  As soon as they had finished, I let her out.  On Wednesday, we had to go to the Allotment, so I popped her in the sin bin while we were away, and let her out as soon as we got home.  She ran aroud making sure she had chased the other Girls at last once,  pecked Roobarb on the head a couple of times, and then settled down under the Pampas.  She didn't go into the nest box as far as I know.

This morning, I went to let the girls out and I was surprised to see Milly was up and about.  She stayed up and about all morning.   

She was probably getting a bit fed up with the broodiness anyway,  and the threat of solitary confinement seems to have persuaded her to stay out.   The broody cage, however, is staying put for a bit....just in case.

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