Have you ever heard of a broody hen?
A hen is said to have gone “broody” when a hormonal change in her body suddenly makes her want to incubate eggs. Typically a chicken lays an egg and then scampers off, not caring too much what happens to the egg. When they go broody, however, collecting eggs becomes quite a chore.
I’m not sure exactly what causes broodiness but it does seem to happen more this time of year as we move into their natural breeding season; that is most wild birds seem to birth and raise young starting in the spring.
Last night I went in to get eggs, and this beautiful Easter Egger was sitting on her nest. I pet her head for a moment and then tried to slide my hand under her. She went from this calm lovely bird to a mama on guard in an instant. I couldn’t get a good picture but imagine all the feathers around her face standing on end so she looked like a lion with a mane.
This girl also packed at me when I reached for her eggs. I was quick though and grab the few that were under her. She then proceeded to watch me with crazy eyes and announce to everyone else in the coop to protect their eggs. Can’t you hear her: Egg stealer! Egg stealer! Watch your eggs girls!
There was a chicken in every box when I went out there yesterday. I felt like all eyes were on me!
We don’t generally let our chickens incubate eggs because we are in the business of selling eggs but we have tried it twice in the past with one specific hen who is a very dedicated broody. She hatched our duck Cupcake and our rooster Sweet Pea. So anyway, I’m hoping this season of broodiness will pass quickly because I’m tired of getting pecked. I need to start carrying gloves with me to collect eggs!
For you chicken owners out there – how do you deal with broody hens?