Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Pauline and her biological clock

I haven't updated you on the hen coop in a long time, and there's two exciting dramas going on.  I know SOME of you care about this stuff, so here goes.

First, there are 11 baby chicks growing in a cozy crate in the hallway.  I didn't expect to be taking on the raising of these little darlings, but due to a long story involving some local politics and a teacher's aversion to chicken poop, here they are.  Six Barred Rock, two Auracanas, two Speckled Sussex, and one little Golden Comet named Potato.  I took this while changing their bedding yesterday, they are 2 and 3 weeks old.

And interestingly, one of my remaining two adult hens has turned broody.  I've never experienced this before in my little flock, and at first thought Pauline was sick because she was just sitting on the nest and wouldn't move...except she was very plump and glossy and bright-eyed.  But I realized what was going on, and that her wee chicken version of the biological clock was kicking in.  Perhaps she got wind of some baby chick pheromones from inside the house.  Since we don't have a rooster, and she was sitting on a completely empty nest, I tried booting her off the nest several times a day to break the broodiness.  She was indignant, and persistent in returning to her misguided vigil.  Let me tell you, a broody hen is a single-minded force of nature.  So yesterday I took to feeling bad for her, and started to think that maybe it would be best to go with the flow of nature.  I called up my neighbors who have a flock of hens and a big rooster, and begged three eggs for her that might be fertilized.  She was so excited to get the eggs, and immediately tucked them right under herself and proceeded to fluff up and hiss at me.  Chickens might not be very bright, but their instincts are strong.

(Insert mental movie clip from "My Cousin Vinny" with Marisa Tomei stomping around on the porch in her flowered catsuit yelling, "...and my biological clock is ticking...like...THIS!")

If the eggs really are fertile, there might be MORE chicks on April 30.  Meanwhile, I'm researching whether I can possibly introduce the younger of the baby chicks to her.  And also meanwhile, trying to figure out the logistics of having one adult free-and-happy hen, one broody hen with eggs, and 11 babies who are outgrowing their childhood home, and one chicken coop without a fence...

1 comment:

Farmer*swife a/k/a Glass_Half_Full said...

OMG! Loved this post! The cute little babies and I didn't know you could get (fertilized) eggs from another chicken and that an outside mom would take them in.

So cool!

Good luck and keep us updated on the chick-let story.