It’s hot today. Currently, it “feels like” 34 degrees Celsius, which is about 93 Fahrenheit — not impossibly hot, but it’s quite uncomfortable if you are a chicken!
Especially if you are a chicken who has decided to raise a nest of little chicks!
These two (Harriet and Cricket) are both broody at the same time. That means they won’t shift themselves off their nest for any enticement, not even snails! Not even Kale. Maybe for sunflower seeds. 🙂
Today I’ve covered their nest box with shade cloth, because I don’t want them to cook themselves to death. The door is open to let air flow in, and to discourage them from sitting in there (they like it dark).
The sun can still get in, so the shadecloth may give them a little more protection. At least until I can turf them off the nest.
Normally when a chicken goes broody, we put her into “the broody cage”:
Harriet had a turn the other day, but I didn’t have the heart to leave her there for long enough, as the weather has been too hot!
When in the broody cage, she has access to food and water, and some treats. The other chickens hang about to visit, so she doesn’t lose her place in the chicken pecking order.
The wire on the bottom is meant to allow air flow under her belly, to trick her out of her nesting instinct. This does work, but it’s hard on me watching a chicken be caged up like this for a few days.
This is more like it! The shade cloth trick deterred Cricket from nesting, and she came out into the sun for a dirt bath (crazy, crazy chicken).
In the meantime, I filled a few ceramic bowls with grain and water, to entice them into the shadier areas of the yard. Predictably, Cricket knocked the grain bowl over in her hurry to stuff her face (when broody, they don’t take time to eat very often: when she eats, she eats fast!)
Over the next few hours, as it gets hotter, I will go out and check that they aren’t sitting in the sun, and pop some ice cubes into their water.
Whilst I was there in the orchard, I happened to notice that a few Boysenberries are ripe.
There are even a few berries left on the bush!
3 thoughts on “Broodies and berries”
Is that a broody Barnevelder? I have had my Barnies for 3 years and neither of them have ever gone broody. Your hens look beautiful. Luckily here in New Zealand it never gets that hot so the girls don’t suffer as much.
I have a broody Plymouth Barred Rock at the moment sitting on Orpington eggs I got from a friend. It was warm here yesterday (probably only 20C 😄) and I gave her some watermelon. I had to hold it under her beak of course as she only gets off the nest once every 4 days.
Yep – Harriet is a Barnevelder and exists in an almost permanent state of broodiness. She comes on the lay for about 3 weeks and then goes broody again! I understand Barnevelders are not very broody, so I lucked out with this one! >.<
Cricket (Gold-laced wyandotte) is even more broody – she's not eating much at all. I'm putting pots of grain and drink into the actual nest, but she's not interested. She's getting the broody cage today, as it's cooler. For now. I may bring her inside and try some hand-feeding after lunch.
Watermelon is a good idea! I will get some today :D. Thank for the tip!
😄 good luck.