Goldie is a Jail Bird


Poor Goldie.  She went “broody” and decided that she was going to hatch some eggs, even if it was the wooden ones we keep in the nesting boxes for inspiration!  She wouldn’t leave the nesting box and would screech at us or any hen who came near her.  I tried removing her from the box and she would quickly eat some food, take a dust bath, and then run right back into the nesting box!  We did this many times, and I would even try to distract her with treats, but it only worked for a few minutes.  I also closed off the nesting boxes at night with wood, but she just made her own nest on the floor of the coop and wouldn’t move from there in the morning!

Broody hens lose weight and pull out the feathers on the breast, so this was not good for Goldie.  There’s no rooster, so no chance of hatching any of those eggs, either.  Drastic times called for drastic measures.  We set up a “broody box” in the garage.  According to what I read, the key is to make sure the bottom of the wire cage is up off the ground in some way.  Apparently the broody hen needs to feel the air circulating on the underside of her body in order to “snap out of it.”  We gave her food and water, but she didn’t touch it.  She was in the “pokey” two nights before she stopped being broody.  The other hens visited her while she was in jail.  I’m not sure what they thought of all of it.  I know it was tough to leave her in the garage by herself as she made a small whining noise.

When we first put Goldie in the broody box, we had a visitor.  Greer and I were sitting in the office when we heard a great chicken commotion.  We ran to the backyard, and this cute little face was peeking in through the sizable hole in our back gate:


Yes, Parker is a cute dog, but even cute little dogs kill chickens.  They are the greatest threat to backyard hens.  Parker was definitely excited to see those chickens, and the chickens were not happy to see him.  We’ve seen the hens swarm a housecat, but they gave an alarm cry for the dog.  We’d never seen this dog before, and no owner was in sight, so we called the number on his tag.  There was no answer and since we couldn’t babysit him for hours, we ended up putting him in our other chicken kennel on the front porch!  His owner came and picked him up awhile later, but in the mean time we had two animals locked up.  Now both animals are free-ranging again, although I hope Parker stays inside his house or on a leash from now on!

— Crystal


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