Sunday, September 26, 2010

Gone Broody

Not only have my attempts been thwarted in gathering milk, but now the chickens have stopped laying. We're getting one egg a day if we're lucky.

Our hen Cocoa Puff is broody, huddling in the nesting box as if in a trance. If you are not familiar with flock talk, broody means a girl is hanging out in the coop trying to hatch a clutch of eggs. I didn't recognize the signs at first, since she is not preventing me from gathering eggs, or egg as is the usual case. She just sits in the box with a dazed, vacant expression. Silly bird. She can't quite connect the dots that if I take the eggs, she's not going to hatch any chicks. Well she wouldn't anyway without a rooster, but I don't expect her to understand these kinds of adult things.

I know a broody bird stops laying, but I can't figure out what's wrong with the rest of the girls. Stress from the baby goats? Lack of attention, since I am spending the majority of my time trying to milk an obstinate goat? Change in season? I would have suspected molting, but the only one losing feathers is Cocoa Puff, who is intentionally pulling them out of her breast so that she can keep her imaginary babies warm. What gives cluckers?

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  1. Ours have stopped laying because of the heat. It's probably hotter here than where you are though.

  2. I can't blame the heat, but our egg production is down enough that we're barely keeping pace with my own appetite. I think it's molting. Ours have also been ravenous.

  3. I can't help. Ours do similar things and I don't know what to do, but you should ask Clare from Curbstone Valley Farm. She's a chicken guru.

  4. Any stressors, such as our current heat wave, and alter their routine. As for your broody, try stuffing a couple of chicks under her. I believe Half Moon Bay Feed and Fuel has chicks year round.

  5. All but one of them have stopped here lost her tail feathers so I just chalked it up to an early moult because of the long cool summer. They stopped before the current heat wave