Diary of a Broody Hen

Dear Diary,

I got a message from cousin CluckBawk today.  A Starling flock came by to comb the pasture for grubs and one of the girls said CluckBawk was living in town now.  She has a colorful coop and fresh grass when her humans remember to move it around.  To each their own, I say.  If she likes the urban life, good for her.  Not that she had much say in it.  My humans moved her there in exchange for a window for what will be our new coop.  Her new human hen has red claws and bright colors around her eyes.  I just cannot imagine.  Mine could use a dust bath most of the time and she is pretty plain colored.  Mostly light brown.  She obviously admires my mottling.  

Anyway, we finally have some action around here on the new coop.  I do hope they get to it.  

I have this urge to brood.  I think I will sit on all the eggs today.

Dear Diary,

I scared the scream out of our human hen last night.  She came to close the door and reached into my nesting box.  I would have warned her but she just rammed her hand into me in the dark so I gave her a peck.  She apparently didn’t notice I started sitting yesterday and thought the box would be empty.  She takes our eggs every night.  Well, I’m putting a stop to it.

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Dear Diary,

Bwawkkk has decided she is jealous and wants to hatch a clutch, too.  Well, she can find her own.  She crawled on top of me today, awkwardly, and laid her egg but then she didn’t want to leave.  Well, needless to say, we had words.

She is now two boxes down and I swear she is staring at me.

It is cold.  Too, cold.  The days are long but I could really use more straw in this box at night.  

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Dear Diary,

Well, that’s it!  Bwawkkk is driving me nuts.  She knows I can see her watching me.  I’ve half a mind to get up and crack one of her eggs but I’m better than that.  

I did get up today for a drink and a couple of sprouts.  It was nice to stretch.  

My human hen finally brought some bedding in and put it around me.  I puffed up to remind her that this is MY box and MY clutch and there will be none of her egg stealing shenanigans.  I must admit, I look pretty impressive when I stand my feathers up and warn her.  I know it scares her, even though she makes that laughing noise and acts all patronizing.  That is just a human defense mechanism.

Dear Diary,

Drama, drama.  Cl-cl-cluck is moulting and you KNOW how that makes a hen moody.  She is constantly complaining to our guard, Crock-a-doo-a-doo.  He is a fine rooster, polite most of the time.  Now our last fella, Damnit Duke the humans called him, he was a handsome thing but he kept running off the human hen and she kept hitting him with a rake.  One morning we woke up and he was lying, stiff as a board, stone dead outside the coop.  Well, human hen acted surprised but you could tell she wasn’t remorseful one bit so we all agreed she must have done it.  It was only a matter of time.  You should’ve heard her squawk when he would go at her.  We just knew it wouldn’t end well.  It never does.  

Here comes Cl-cl-cluck.  I better go.

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Dear Diary,

It happened.  Cl-cl-cluck and Bwawkkk got into it this morning.  We all knew it would happen.  Rude sorts.  They just had words but it made the whole morning unpleasant.  And, I hate to admit it but Cl-cl-cluck is right, Bwawkkk shouldn’t be getting up so much if she wants that clutch to hatch.

On the bright side, the human rooster brought me a grub today.  I puffed up to show him what a nice job I am doing.  I like him.  He never takes our eggs and sometimes brings us insects.

I’ve taken to meditating all day.  It passes the time.

Dear Diary,

I’m bored.  Well, I am when I am paying attention.  Bwawkkk has finally started minding her own business.  

The human hen went by on that loud monster she rides around the yard today and had everyone all  upset.  It throws little pieces of grass at us and if it isn’t the noisiest thing on this farm then I don’t know what.  And she squawks the whole time she rides it.  She makes the most awful sounds.  I bet cousin Cluck Bawk doesn’t have to deal with this in the city.  I wonder what it is like in the city.

Dear Diary,

It is almost time.  I think.  I can’t tell time.  I’m a chicken.  But I am starting to sense my eggs are almost ready.

There were a lot of human chicks around here this morning trying to rub their gross, bald little hands on the girls.  They opened the coop over and over.  Several of them stuck their little black things in my face.  I do not know what those noisy boxes are the humans carry around and look at all the time but they kept trying to show them to me today.  I am unimpressed.  They are clearly not edible.

Dear Diary,

It got warm in here today.  I stood up and stretched.

Dear Diary,

There are little, fluffy chicks under me!!  They are hatching!!  I’m so excited I could peck anyone who comes near us!  They are perfect, too.  Absolutely beautiful.  They are so much nicer than anyone else’s could be.  

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Dear Diary,

I was right, my chicks are the most wonderful ever.  I’m keeping them under me so they stay warm and safe.  I look very good.  The humans keep coming out to admire us.  Human hen should try hatching a clutch.  Of course, her bald offspring are not very attractive and I’m not sure where she could tuck human chicks to keep them warm…

Is it ever nice to be eating and drinking again!  Good thing, too, because these chicks are going to wear me out.

The human rooster seems to be starting on the new coop again, after much clucking from his hen.

What is that I hear under Bwawkkk??

*Language has been cleaned up by human hen because, as everyone knows, chickens swear.

From the humans

We have only been keeping chickens for two years so we still have a lot to learn but we love the personalities of our birds.

Here are a couple things we have picked up thus far:

There are three things we have successfully done to correct egg eaters.  Remove the eggs frequently so there are never any sitting around for bored hens.  I have talked to folks who tilted the floor of their nesting boxes and made a wire catch at the back so there are never eggs laying around to accidentally be tasted and create an egg eater.

Use ceramic decoy eggs, which we bought at the local farm supply for a few dollars.  Hens can’t break these and if real eggs are not around, they give up.

Finally, chickens hate mustard, so get those plastic Easter eggs and fill them with mustard.  After trying to eat those for a week, our eater gave up.  You can stop when you stop finding them split open.

Next, we are regularly asked what we feed our birds since they cannot be totally free range here and must be pastured or penned.  We keep non-gmo feed around, which is getting more and more available.  We supplement organic whole grains like flax and oats.  We also use lots of black oil sunflower seeds.  The guineas like them, they can be sprouted and fed for great nutrition in the winter and the uneaten seeds grow into beautiful flowers.  We also “pick salad” for our flock by cutting them greens when they are in a pasture where they have already decimated the vegetation, which is too often.  Of course, they get a bowl of kitchen scraps everyday and adore leftover oatmeal.

I’d offer advice about how to build a great walk in coop cut we have yet to find the perfect coop.  I’ll keep you posted.

For more information about raising chickens:

Chicken Keeping Newsletter by Gina Read

Rodale’s Chicken Guide

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Love from the farm

Happy eating, Katy

3 thoughts on “Diary of a Broody Hen

  1. BawHaHaBawk! Love your sense of humor. Interesting solution for an egg eater. We have ceramic eggs in our nest boxes. Most of our hens seem to prefer the floor, unfortunately. We need to seperate our Guineas from our chickens as the aptly horn headed critters are just plain nasty and keep the hens stirred up most of the time. Catching them may be a trick, as they roost in the rafters of the barn. Ah the farm life!

    Liked by 2 people

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