Saturday, June 30, 2012

Brooding Sure is Hard to Do

Day 4 of brooding. Our fluffy mama is doing a great job. If not also a weird job.
Erickson spends most of her day sitting on her clutch, of course. She has been fairly smart this time around. When we let the chickens out to forage and give them treats, she takes a break from her eggs, gets something to drink, scratches around, stretches and grooms a bit before heading back in to the coop to take up her post as incubator. She makes some crazy clucking sounds the entire time she's off the eggs as if to call to them so they know she's right outside and not to worry. That or she's warning any lunatics who might try to steal her eggs that she'll peck their eyes out if they even think about touching them.
Now, she's still a chicken. And chickens' brains are only so big. Erickson has proven to be a good brooder and a good mama, so I won't judge her too much, but yesterday we had an incident. Another chicken laid an egg in one of the empty nest boxes next to Erickson's clutch while Erickson was out and about on her daily incubator break. When she went back into the coop she decided to sit on the lonely unfertilized egg rather than on the dozen eggs she has been sitting on for the past three days. I never said chickens were the smartest animals on the planet. She must have taken one look at that single egg and thought, "What do you think I am? A sucker? Why spend my time warming, turning, and rotating all those eggs when I could take care of this one little egg?" My husband checked on her and seeing that she had not made the best choice, at least in hatching terms, he stole the one egg from under her fluff-butt. She hopped up and ended up settling herself back on the correct nest. Maybe I should take back my judgment of stupidity and say that maybe chickens are geniuses. Erickson's no sucker.
Hers can't be the most glorious job in the flock. I'd much rather be Pouncey, who since Erickson's departure from normal flock activities, has taken up the post of frantically pacing back and forth in front of the door to the run whenever she sees human activity. See, it's been ridiculously hot the last two days and I feel bad that Erickson's stuck in that coop keeping a dozen eggs warm. It's like she's sitting next to a space heater and it's 105 degrees outside. Literally. This has to be the worst week for a chicken to be broody. If it we're me, I'd do my egg hatching in the early spring when it isn't so hot. But I guess you can't time these things out like that. She seems to like June-July for hatching chicks. If they hatch right on time, my husband and I might get chicks as our 8th wedding anniversary present. That wouldn't be too shabby. But, how can I top that next year? Maybe a goat or pig will be in order. Hmm...

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