Our Light Sussex hen Daisy is about 10 months old and a fantastic layer, her eggs are almost white and quite large. She’s a slightly flighty bird, much more shy and much more jumpy than Minnie and Clarabelle, but she follows me around like a dog and I’ve developed a bit of a soft spot for her and her strange little quirks.
For the past 6 days however, she has stopped laying. I thought it was a little early in the season for her to be affected by the shortening days, so I was concerned that she might be sick. So after a lot of chasing, a lot of feathers flying, a lot of slipping and falling in the mud. I finally managed to catch her to check her over. Her eyes are bright, her comb is nice and pink, the bottoms of her feet are fine, she has no mites and doesn’t appear to be moulting. So why isn’t she laying?
Off I trot to my friend google and the only real answer I can come up with is that it is the change in daylight hours. So I accept that perhaps we won’t get any more eggs from her until the springtime.
Today I go to let them out of the coop and as usual they have some food and drink and then do their normal chicken poking about and scratching stuff. All except Daisy that is, she was lurking around the coop looking a bit shifty! (have you ever seen a shifty looking chicken – they can do it, honest). I carry on cleaning out the coop, watching her from the corner of my eye, pretending that I haven’t noticed her.
Then nice as pie she jumps, quite high onto a branch of the Ivy that overhangs the run wall. She then carrys on jumping from branch to branch, until she makes it onto the top of the wall under the cover of the Ivy. She pokes around for a bit and I can see her sort of squatting, but she’s watching me through the leaves. So I busy myself and again pretend I don’t see her. That’s when she starts to cluck quite loudly and it dawns on me she’s laying an egg!
So I disappear for 10 minutes and when I return, she’s back in the run, doing her usual chicken stuff along with the other two. I go into the run and scramble up through the Ivy, only to discover she has made a nest on top of the wall and it is full of eggs. Seven to be exact. So it turns out she hasn’t stopped laying at all, she’s just doing it now in a secret wall top nest!
Googling again, the only answer I can come up with that seems to fit, is that she has gone broody. Yep, I have a broody chicken, Daisy wants to have babies. So now I either ride it out for a few weeks and just carry on lifting her eggs from the wall nest or I introduce her to Mr Rooster. I don’t relish the thought of buying a rooster, to compete with my daughters on noise levels. Yet part of me feels a bit guilty not letting her have some chicks, which I know the girls would adore (and me).
Who knew keeping chickens could lead to such decisions!
If there are any experienced chicken keepers out there, what do you recommend? Lift her eggs and wait for it to pass or sign her up to match.com for chickens?
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