The Battle of the Broodies

Over the past few weeks, the Omlet in the garden has become a battleground. Three of the silkies have been conducting a battle royale to hog the nest. The majority of the past four weeks, I have daily been turfing off Stratus from the nest. She has absolutely no idea how to be a broody beyond the requirement to sit on the nest. Eggs however are a complete mystery to her!

Just as I was beginning to hope Stratus interest in being broody was waining, Trixie began to get very angry and fluffed up her feathers each time I opened up the nest box. Recognising the signs, I knew that Stratus and her would end up wrestling to claim ownership of the nest. I would regularly find both of them wedged tightly into the nest. So tightly were they wedged that it was almost impossible to get my hands around Stratus to safely lift her out. Needless to say both took a dim view of being removed from the nest.

About four days of this and Asperitas joined in the broody gang. The addition of the third broody hen to the small nest in the Omlet was… interesting. So determined were they all to be in the nest that the third bird, often Asperitas or Trixie, ended up sitting on top of the other two! One morning as I was attempting to remove the terrible trip from the nest, I spotted something that looked like a large growth on the back of Stratus’s neck. Concerned, I pulled an indignant Stratus outside to inspect her. To my utter exasperation, the thing in the back of her neck was a poo. Clearly Stratus was at the bottom of the nest box and someone had decided to make their feelings about her hogging the nest known!

Over the last two days however, things are starting to calm down. Stratus has pretty much given up – about time after nearly six weeks! Trixie seems to have won the war over the nest box but Asperitas is doing her best to continue to be broody by insisting on perching in the nest box. Both let out blood curdling shrieks if you have the temerity remove them from the nest box. It’s even worse if one of the others has managed to sneak in and lay an egg. Trying to remove a broody hen from an egg, even if it’s infertile, is difficult. Especially when you have a brilliant broody like Trixie!

With the heatwave finally in full retreat and some long overdue rain, I hope that this will discourage Trixie and Asperitas from staying broody too much longer. I’m getting tired of repeatedly turfing chickens out of the nest box!

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