Chickens aren’t known for their good sense. But the chickens on White Flint farm seem to be taking foolishness to new levels this summer.
The weirdness started out kind of cute. We had two hens sitting, and they’d managed to spoil or break so many eggs, that by the time they hatched, there were only two left, one under each hen. When hen #2 left her nest with her chick, she noticed that hen #1 only had one also. So hen #2 immediately abandoned her chick, and hen #1 immediately began brooding them both. I like that kind of efficient thinking. Pictured above is Mama and both chicks.
But then things got stranger.
All of a sudden we had seven hens go broody at once, and they are uniformly incompetent sitting hens. The most ridiculous episode involved two hens who attempted to sit on the same nest. Neither was willing to concede the nest, so they both somehow crammed into and sat on the eggs at the same time. Only one egg hatched, but when it did, both hens continued to brood the chick. At night they’d bed down with the chick between them.
We have 12 nesting boxes, and now we have seven hens sitting. We mark the eggs they’re sitting on, but the crazy hens will get out of the nest for a drink and another hen will hop in and lay an egg. Then the sitting hen will plop down on a different nest, over fresh eggs, letting the ones she supposed to be sitting on go cold. It’s gotten so crazy we had to stop collecting eggs for a while, because it’s gotten so difficult to know which are fresh and which have baby chicks in them.
We have all the chickens we need, and more eggs than we can eat, so I don’t mind the interruption in egg production or the fact that we’re not hatching many chicks. But I can’t stand the chaos and confusion these silly birds are causing.
Hopefully they’ll all hatch something soon, so they can get back to a more normal kind of craziness.
By the way, anybody remember the old Joe Tex tune from my childhood that inspired the title of my post? They don’t write ’em like that anymore.