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Friday, July 22, 2016

Bless Her Sweet, Motherly Heart

"Did you get the eggs today," he asked, after shutting the girls safely in their sleeping coop for the night.

"No. Why?"
"Well, Giblet's in the little coop and I just left her in there. Do you think she's sitting on them? She must be broody again."

For the second time this year, poor Giblet, the most motherly hen in the flock, seemed determined to hatch a little family of her own. Without a resident rooster, however, Giblet's most sincere efforts would be sadly futile. 

So, I went out to see for myself and, sure enough, there she was-- not on the roost to sleep, trying to enjoy a night to herself, away from the other girls--  but sitting in the nest box with that far away look in her eyes.

The last time this happened with the old girl, my first thought was that she was egg-bound so I brought her in the house, ran a Dale I go bath, and submerged her bottom in it. It must have felt wonderfully relaxing because she soon expressed an enormous   . . . poop. Absolutely not what I had anticipated would come out! (Caleigh had been observing this "Operation Rescue" and, horrified, announced that she would never take another bath in that tub! I assured her, as I let out the water, sprayed the messiness down the drain, and ran clean water, that I would be scrubbing the bathtub with bleach before anyone needed it.) It was only after I had wrapped Giblet in a towel to dry her, wondering what the next step would be, that the Preacher suggested that she might be broody. Aha! 

For the next few days, Giblet persisted in staying on the eggs the other girls laid so I would remove them and put a few ice cubes in their place. She never gave me a fit when I would pick her up and take "her" eggs and it wasn't long until the instinct to hatch chicks seemed to pass and she was back out with the other girls, scratching and digging craters in the yard.

This last attempt by Giblet to brood was much easier to thwart and ended quickly. Maybe the urge wasn't as strong as before or maybe, just maybe, it was just not worth all the trouble it caused her.

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