- Kendra R. Shatswell
The Bad Broody
I keep a small flock of free-range hens. I put a lot of emphasis on GOOD broodies. I wrote this a couple years ago, and my opinion on this breed has not changed. I love a good Ameraucana rooster, but I am still not a fan of the hens. Before you get all ruffled up - this is just MY experience - You may LOVE Ameraucanas!
Let me tell you how utterly un-impressed I am with Ameraucana hens. The blue eggs are so pretty but every other breed and cross I have out-lays them.
The breeder I purchased from had one splash chick from this very lage hatch. ONE. I was so tickled it turned out to be a pullet! Especially given that I was on a waitlist to even get the silly things....$7 a chick, too.
Splash hen went broody this spring. When I got tired of throwing her out of the nest boxes, I said alright, here have some eggs to sit on in this hutch. It took three tries to get her to move and not break up. I am not a novice broody-hen relocater.
She finally moved and was due to hatch Wednesday. Tuesday, I poked my head in there to toss in some feed and there she was pecking around...Apparently, she did not read the bit about "lockdown" in the Broody Hen Manual.
She lost her freaking mind when she saw me - screamed and flapped and bounced off the walls and escaped before I could shut the door. Couldn't get her back in...she just ran around squawking bloody murder. I went slow, trying to ease her back that direction...nope. I went fast and couldn't get the idiot cornered.
I left, hoping she would jump back on her eggs.
She went back to the chicken house and sat on THOSE eggs.
I got the door slammed on her and me before she could get out...she went to bouncing and flapping and screaming again. I finally got her caught.
I seriously considered wringing her neck and having one more for the freezer. But those eggs were SO close to hatching, so I tossed her back in there, on her clutch.
They hatched! I could hear her clucking to them and what not yesterday. Gave her until today to hatch. When I put chick feed in there this morning, one had jumped out of the nest box - not uncommon.
The hen was up but still in the box, effectively stomping the other chicks there...No soft broody cluck, but this terribly annoying frantic cluck, presumably because of the fallen peeping chick.
I got in there - she jumped off and tried to get away - I set all of the chicks down on the ground and took the nest box out and got out. I gave her a bit to chill out and figure out the proper broody hen manners.
She didn't... She stomped. She scratched and screamed like an idiot while chicks were peeping in distress because they just wanted their moron mother to sit on them and warm them instead of stomp on their heads.
I opened the door and here she came, leaving her chicks. She isn't fluffed up. She clucks occasionally, when she remembers. I am still trying to decide if I want to give her one more shot because she is SO PRETTY or get rid of her. I took the chicks in the house and put them under the heat lamp...sigh. The good news is a second hen - a mutt - is hatching and doing an infinitely better job. The broody hen in the picture is actually the BEST broody hen I've ever owned. She often hatched two time a year and once fought off a hawk....but that is another story.