Day 125 of 365
Yesterday, Ron let me sleep late after a tough week of mom worry. I was worn, so he got up and did the morning chores by himself. When I got up later, he told me Ruby had moved herself from the garage to the coop. I was skeptical, but he said he was sure he saw Ruby in the coop and couldn’t find her in the garage. I was still skeptical.
Sure enough, I found her hiding in a dog crate in the garage, still broody. I can’t believe she has gone broody yet again. This is the third time this summer. The first time, she raised babies. Then, a few weeks after her babies were let go, she went broody again. Thankfully, on her own, she just snapped out of it. I was so glad. That hen lays beautiful eggs. But she has laid eggs for just a few weeks this whole summer. She went broody again last week, and she’s been screaming and squawking at everyone in the garage ever since.
Ron is worn from her behavior. Broodiness does make a hen particularly difficult. They will try to fight you all the time about all the things, including you just walking by. Today, Ron told me we should close the doors on the dog crates, so Ruby can’t hide in there and be broody.
“But Juliet needs to lay her egg in the crate,” I explained.
“Well, can’t Juliet just find someplace else?” he asked grumpily.
“Oh, she’ll lay someplace else, and we’ll never find them.”
He wasn’t happy with this response, but I went outside and opened the dog crate door when Juliet started squawking to let me know she was ready–in her crate. Ron and I made the plan to close Juliet in the crate while she was laying, lock Ruby out, and when Juliet was done, grab the egg, let her out, but close the crate to keep Ruby from getting in there. We do need to break her from being broody.
This plan worked, except Ruby attacked Ron when he went to get Juliet’s egg. Good times!
Juliet lays a perfect khaki egg. When Ron saw it, he said, “Yeah, I can see why you don’t want to lose this egg.” I was satisfied that he understood the importance of the egg.
But poor Ruby. She’s so difficult. She sat for hours on top of the crate, which is covered in seed starter containers. It could not have been comfortable. Later, when my son and I got home from cello lessons, we found her perched on top of one of Ron’s homemade sawhorses, near a quilt we use when we take our bikes out in the pickup; she was just pretending like she was in a nest. I swear, I could tell she was pretending, trying to make the best of it.
I felt so badly for her, but truly, she already raised babies this year. We can’t have any more babies. She has to wait until next year. So I started singing to her.
Ruby is named after my grandmother who I don’t really remember, but apparently, she adored me before she died when I was about three years old. Her name is magnificent to me, and when Ruby, our chicken, was a baby, she was so beautiful and red, I figured Ruby was the perfect name. Truly, however, my favorite part of having a chicken named Ruby is singing to her “Ooh, Ruuuuby,” just like in the song. Of course, that song is actually quite terrible in its content–about violence and war and anger and betrayal–but that chorus is catchy, isn’t it? I love to sing it to Ruby. Most of the time, she talks back when I sing to her.
Ruby is VERY talkative. One time, she was getting ready to go to sleep in the garage when my son was outside beatboxing, in as much as a white kid from Maine can beatbox, when he said he was going to have a beatbox contest with Ruby. So he went over to her and did some beatboxing for her. I am not kidding you. She looked at him long and hard and then just let out all kinds of chicken noises like I have not heard. She was loud too!
My son said, “Ok, Ruby, you win.”
Today, when I got in her face and started to sing her song, she let me have it. She just squawked at me so loudly. It wasn’t that far off from her beatbox competition submission. She hurt my ears for sure. Maybe my singing hurts her ears. I wouldn’t doubt it. I love music but am a terrible singer.
Honestly, I am not sure how we are ever going to get her back into the coop, but soon, it will be winter, and then we have to figure something out.