Day 18 of 365
I have to write quickly tonight, as I have more chicken work to do thanks to Kate. I love that chicken to the moon and back, but I should have known she was going to be difficult with all of this chicken mama business. She was the most difficult, sassy baby chick I have ever seen. Of course, this made me fall madly in love with her.
I want terribly for her to get to be a mama. Unfortunately, when I went to check on her this morning, she acted like she wanted out of the crate. I am not one to force anyone into motherhood, as it’s the toughest job in the world, so I opened the crate and let her go first thing this morning. She went back with the flock and was scratching around in the grass this morning.
She has been broody for nearly two weeks, so I thought surely the move would work. But when I saw her with the flock, I thought maybe she had decided against broodiness and that the move to the crate had broken her broodiness.
However, about 15 minutes later, I saw her back in the nest box acting all broody–screaming at people in the coop. (I feel like it is important to know that I call animals people. There are chicken people, duck people. It’s not that I do not understand that they are a different species. It is just that we don’t have a word in our language to convey the fact that I see them as different but not lesser. When I read in Braiding Sweetgrass that Native American languages have words for “bear people” and “chicken people,” I was moved to tears.)
Anyway, Kate was back in the nesting box, doing her dinosaur scream at anyone who wanted to lay an egg today. I just shook my head and realized I needed a special plan for such a special chicken.
So, this is my plan, I let her keep the eggs under her this evening instead of collecting them. Then, at night tonight, I’m going to pull her out of the nesting box, keep the eggs right with her, and put her in the crate with the warm eggs. My hope is that keeping her belly warm with the warm eggs will help keep her focused on being broody. I’m trying to not “break the spell” if that makes sense.
I am about to head out there right now and try this. Wish me luck. I am supposed to pick up baby chicks from the breeder next week. If Kate won’t agree to this new arrangement tonight, I’m going to have to enlist Jane. She has done this before and knows the drill. She made the move just fine last year. But, goodness, she was a bossy mama and didn’t co-parent very well at all.
So, please cross your fingers for Kate. She is generally a very sweet hen. She’s just–particular about things.