On July 3, Brown Dog, belonging to our neighbor feasted on two of my United Nations flock of cull chickens, after causing significant damage to the chicken tractor in which they were housed. On July 4, eldest son and I killed the remainder of them and frozen them for stewing chickens plus 1 rooster, the Buff Orpington, the King of the Domain. He had gotten too aggressive toward the hens and toward us. Neither of the then 14 month old hens was showing any signs of broodiness though I really had wanted a self sustaining flock and hen set chicks. The next day, Brown Dog managed to scare the teenagers enough that one flew out of the pen the dog couldn’t get in and he trotted home with a young Buff Orpington pullet in his mouth. Brown Dog hasn’t been seen since then, and the Buffs are maturing to a point where I expect the 3 that are 22 weeks old to start laying very soon and the 20 week olds to begin within a couple more weeks. Since July 4, we have averaged only 1 egg a day from the two adults.
Beginning night before last, when I went to check for eggs and lock up the girls, I found one of the mature hens sitting in the nesting box that they both use. I chased her out, took the egg and closed them up for the night. The next morning, she didn’t come out to eat with the rest of the girls and sure enough, she was on the box again and puffed herself all up at me. I chased her out again and found her there again last night, this morning and this afternoon. This evening, though there are no eggs to collect, I put an upside down bucket in that nesting box. She is quite indignant with me, puffing up and trying to peck my hand when I shoo her away. She probably won’t be too amused to find the bucket in her space, but now that Cogburn is in freezer camp, it is pointless to let her continue to be broody as there are no fertilized eggs for her to sit. Silly chicken.
I have 15 Rainbow Ranger chicks due here the end of the first week of August to raise in the second pen and chicken tractor and I don’t need Buff Orpington chicks in the coop that won’t mature enough to put in the freezer this fall. Perhaps next spring I will replace Cogburn with a new young rooster and let one or more of the hens go broody and see if we get chicks in the coop. For now, I just need to break Buttercup’s heart and her broodiness.