Chickens Driving You Mad?

Chickens are a never-ending source of entertainment – sometimes the entertainment is better than others!  Zippity and Doodah (pictured using our Dog Cruz’s agility course) have started to lay again but now Zippity has decided to cluck loudly outside our window first thing in the morning and come into the house if she doesn’t get food early enough.

I remembered seeing a very amusing post of Wendyl’s a while back about her chickens causing a ruckus and one of them going broody. It’s a very amusing read with plenty of helpful tips at the bottom of the article.

“For about a month by chooks; Kim, Olive and Mummy, have not been behaving normally. By normal I mean laying an egg each day, clucking gently, basking in the sun, having dust baths. Since then, however, they have been a nightmare, and I can only blame the onset of spring. Olive decided to crow like a rooster every morning at 6am, which is hardly conducive to getting a good neighbour award.

So I shut her up every night in the hen house – they usually all sleep in the camelia tree – and that worked for a while. But then she liked the hen house so much she got broody. Both Olive and Mummy are prone to bouts of broodiness, so I usually just separate them, put them out the back for four days and nights and that fixes it. But not this time. Olive absolutely refuses to give up on fluffing her feathers and clucking indignantly whenever I go near her. So I sought help on Facebook, took a friend’s advice, and very reluctantly tried locking her up in a cat cage with only water in a dark place for two days and nights.

My daughters were a little alarmed to find her in their bathroom, which is the only dark place in our house. I felt terrible putting her in solitary confinement and released her hoping that the cure would work, but after a feed she went straight back to the nest. So I asked NewstalkZB listeners when I was on the radio on Labour Day for advice, and a

 caller said I should put her in a box and make her sit in a dish of water for a night to bring her temperature down – high temperatures make hens broody. I couldn’t quite do that, so I put her back in the cat cage on some damp newspaper.

I let her out this morning and she was completely unchanged. I know poultry keepers just kill broody hens, and believe me I’ve been sorely tempted this week. Any suggestions from my fellow hen keepers would be greatly appreciated. Meanwhile Mummy and Kim have been breaking down bits of wood I have plugged holes in the fence with and started raiding neighbours’ gardens. Hentastic!”

Here’s the response from our readers to Wendyl’s cry for help regarding her broody hen issue …

The earlier you get them the faster it is to fix them.

Separate the hen from the others during laying hours then pop her back in with the others with access to the nest box closed.

Feed more protein – dog roll was suggested.

Put an old oven rack over the nest box to stop her sitting in it.

Make chicks by buying some fertilised eggs and popping them under her – I’ve done this and it’s a great way to increase your flock.

Use an old rabbit hutch with a wire bottom – place it somewhere cool and leave in there with food and water for three to four days.

Wet the hen’s breast with water and then keep off the nest.

Use a wire mesh freezer drawer – make a DIY lid and leave the hen in that on a cold surface, like bricks, for three days and nights.

Hang a wire cage (with food and water) from a tree where it is cool so that the breeze cools them down – I’m not sure about this one but lots of people recommended it. Takes three days.

Send for a sleepover to a friend who has chickens and she will be shocked out of it – not sure I like that one either.

For non-townies get a randy rooster to shock her out of it – hmmmmm

 

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