It’s been ella and the three d’s [sounds like a good band name!] lately. Daisy and Caroline are broody. They want their eggs to hatch, but there’s no rooster, hence no fertilized eggs, and thus no chicks no matter how much they sit on eggs. They’ve been spending most of their days (and nights) in the nest boxes. Apparently this is normal (I knew so little about chicken biology and behavior…), but it does seem strange since they eat little, drink little, and move little. It almost seems as if they are in quasi-hibernate mode.
I’ve been taking them out of the boxes at least once a day and usually carrying them into the orchard. They are generally not too thrilled, especially Daisy. But after a minute or so, they “wake up,” start eating (particularly if I toss some chicken crunchies into the grass), fluff themselves up, and often dash madly into the garden for a good dust bath. After all that sitting, they seem most excited about taking dust baths. Whatever.
So, ella and the three d’s have been a flock of four of late, but ella is obviously the mini matriarch of the group even though she and Pippi are the two smallest chickens. They’ve been hanging out, eating together and also taking dust baths together. They also sit 1-2-3-4 in a row on the top roost each night. And with Daisy the matriarch and Caroline the, er, grumpy chicken out of the mix, Ella, Heidi, and Nony have newly asserted themselves. It’s pretty hilarious.
Egg production is down to 4 most days. Apparently brooding chickens don’t lay much either. It will be interesting to see if the other four chickens start this behavior in a few weeks. If so, we’ll have few eggs.
In non-chicken land, house construction is mostly stalled (boo) and I’m suffering through “MApril,” my newly coined word to describe the end of the academic year madness that is April and May.