Here’s Ms. Broody Guiliani in her temporary digs. She has repeatedly gone broody, which means she has a very strong instinct to sit on eggs. It’s natural for certain breeds of chicken to lay eggs, and then sit on them until they hatch. Many modern breeds have been bred to lessen this instinct, since most people buy chicks from a hatchery and don’t need a hen to hatch eggs. But when a hen goes broody, she stops laying, refuses to leave the nest box, keeps other hens from laying in the box, and just generally makes a nuisance of herself. Our current egg production has dropped by half. What to do?
Well, so far what works is to remove her from familiar surroundings (and nest boxes) for a few days. So she’s in the spare coop now. A few more days and we’ll return her to the flock, and hopefully get back to normal egg production soon. A “real” farmer would cull her, since we don’t really want her to have babies. She could be useful if we wanted her to sit another hen’s eggs, but I think we’ll find her another home when the babies start laying.