Broody or Not Broody – that is the question!

Today we walked down to the allotment in the glorious sunshine. There wasn’t a cloud in the sky. All three bantams were out enjoying scratching and dust bathing. It was interesting to see Trixy outside after her attempt at being broody yesterday. Yesterday, I had to extract the eggs she was determinedly sitting on. The shrill yell and puffing up of feathers was quite an impressive display. Once the eggs were removed, she went outside and spent the rest of the day in the fresh air. Today however was different. She was back in the nest box and very angry. In trying to retrieve any eggs, she delivered quite a sharp peck to my hand. Rapidly removing my hand from the strike zone, I listened to her continue to shout at me for the intrusion. I decided it would be safer to let her be.

Down in the main coop, Maude and Mavis were still in the new nest box. I removed the block from the door, expecting them to go into the run. They didn’t. It seemed like Maude didn’t want to battle with the big girls today. We made sure they had a good and water bowl in the nest box so they didn’t have to come out if they didn’t want to. As my husband chased Millie around the coop, I prepped some cider vinegar for her. She was not happy about it, but we got some down her. My husband collected a solitary egg and sorted out their water feeder. I added some worming powder to the food to help Millie deal with the gapeworm. Better safe than sorry!

Over in the new coop, we found the girls had tipped over their water bowl. Rolling my eyes, I passed it to my husband and got busy sorting out the girls. We picked up Leia and checked her feet. She had a black smudge on her central pad which I scratched off. Instantly, it began to bleed. Recognising bumblefoot, I dashed to the shed and grabbed the Chicken Boots which I had bought several months previously. Getting the boot onto her foot was difficult as she refused to cooperate. Once down, she spent the next few minutes shaking her foot. Leia’s feet will need some attention over the next couple of days to remove the infection and give it a week or so to heal. In the nest box, there weren’t any eggs but then it was quite early. With all the girls seemingly happy, we pottered off home for lunch.

Later in the afternoon, I popped back to see how World War III was getting on. Both Maude and Mavis were still inside the nest box and the big girls were enjoying the sunshine in the run. Several of them were laid out on their sides whilst Hattie was busy having a dust bath. Once the shed was open, I checked over my bee kit which I haven’t looked at since last year. It all seemed to be in perfect working order. Steve appeared and headed off to get the smoker and hive tool as I quickly got on my bee suit. Five hives have survived the winter but the one on Phil’s double plot isn’t going to survive much longer. The remaining four we checked carefully for brood, eggs and the Queens. The first two hives looked healthy with eggs and brood but the third had lots of uncapped Queen cells and at least two capped Queen cells. This shows that the current Queen isn’t laying and that the colony is preparing to replace her. The final hive also looked good but it’s unlikely we will get any honey this year due to May being a total washout.

Just before dinner, I dashed down again to check on Trixy. I had got in touch with the guy I bought Foxy from who agreed to sell me some bantam hatching eggs. He breeds a range of different bantams and let me choose which eggs I wanted and also let me choose an odd number. When I got down to the coop, I opened the nest box to find two eggs and no Trixy! I checked the run and found her sunbathing with the other two. Honestly! Instead of bringing her home and putting her in the broody box, I left the two eggs she had been sitting on in the nest and giving her a severe telling off, I went home.

Here’s hoping Trixy decides to be properly broody tomorrow!

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