Monday, September 26, 2011

Cruel to be kind

After having said how good the chooks are going we have the first broody chook of spring. Lacy, one of our Australorps, has just gone broody. For those who don't know, broodiness is when a chook wants to sit on eggs and raise chicks. They have an urge to be a mum in other words. This is not good if you just want eggs, because broodies don't lay eggs they just sit on them. Usually they lay one and the other chooks quite happily add to the pile. If you have a rooster and want to raise more chooks then you can turn this to your advantage, but we don't have a rooster so all our eggs are infertile. So how do you debroodify a hen? There are a few ways to do it. Some say to dunk the chook under water for a few seconds, but that hasn't worked for us. The only way we have found to work is the broody box.

Here is Lacy in our broody box. The Broody box is a cage we got off the verge. It has a small door just big enough to squeeze our biggest girl Snowy in. It is raised up on bricks to get the wind up the broody's clacker, the opposite of what she wants (a warm, dark, secluded spot). The other features are water and food, which we wire in so the chook won't tip them over. A shady spot is good for summer, sunny for winter. Some people see this as a cruel way to treat a chook, but they're wrong. If you leave a broody chook to itself it will stay there for weeks and will lose weight, get dehydrated and will be vulnerable to disease and heat/cold stress. The first thing a broody will do when you put it in the box is take a big drink of water because it's parched.

The broody will stay in there for 3-5 days. Most of the time a chook will come straight out and be fine, sometimes a persistent broody will need another stretch of time to get over the cluckiness. So be cruel to be kind next time you have a broody, it should do the trick. Hopefully the eggs will keep flowing...

1 comment:

  1. You should get a rooster and have some cute little peepers.

    Good work with Fiester