A couple of months ago one of my young hens was making the motions of a broody-girl. Every day as I collected the eggs she would fan herself out, act defensively, peck at my hand and screetch her little head off as I entered the barn to collect the eggs. I didn’t even go near her nest recognizing straight away that she was ‘broody’ and wanted to be left alone to do her thing. After a few days of listening to her vitriolic protestations over my egg collecting duties, a suitable name popped out of my mouth one night when my husband entered the house after closing up the hens and I asked, “How’s Screetchy Britches doing?”
She was new to this mothering thing and consequently wasted a lot of eggs over the course of a couple of weeks. Being young, she didn’t do a very good job of keeping the older gals out of her ‘chosen’ nursery nest. She was sitting tight enough for me to mark the eggs under her and stop collecting them, but every few days I’d find that she’d move three nests down and was sitting tight again on yet another clutch.
Finally, I moved her to the old chicken house where I have the Cornish Crosses fattening up. Normally, I never move a hen once she’s sat on a clutch and until Screetchy Britches first attempt, I’d never had to. I was worried the move might upset her enough to have her go off the idea of becoming a mother but sick enough of the waste of eggs to give it a try. It worked out beautifully. Last night when I went in to close the houses up for the night, Screetchy Britches was sitting proudly with her three-strong brood. It was a perfect hatch. Because of all the nest switching and egg wasting of previous weeks, when I moved her to the new location I only brought with her three eggs–lest she waste more by not sitting tight or by fleeing back to join the others in the new barn.
Today, she’s already got them out of the nest and into the yard in search of good nibbles!