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Posts Tagged ‘animals’

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When a hen sits on eggs, refuses to move, makes noises you’ve never heard before and pecks you very hard when you try to get her to move, that hen is broody. There are several ways to handle a broody hen. If you don’t want her to be broody, you can dip and hold the chicken for about 60 seconds in icy water to lower the chicken’s body temperature, which rises when the hen is broody. Lowering the hen’s body temperature will force the hen out of being broody. The second way to handle it is to force her off the eggs so you can remove them each day. The hen will stop being broody on her own, but it will take anywhere from a few days to a month or longer, depending on the weather. The third way to handle a broody hen is to give her eggs to sit on and hatch.

When one of our hens becomes broody, we mark eggs with an ‘x’ using a permanent marker and place them under her. We check them each day so we can remove any unmarked eggs, but otherwise leave the hen and the eggs alone. Soon, we find chicks with our hen. We put water and chick feed in an adjacent laying box, so the hen will stay on the eggs for as long as possible. Typically, eggs will hatch on different days because they were laid on different days or the chicks were at different stages of development. The longer we can keep her and the chicks happy; the longer she will remain on the nest of unhatched eggs.

This year, we had three chicks hatch. We lost one to predation when it went out of the fenced area. The other two are now almost old enough to lay their first eggs.

The chicks are still growing and will soon be the size of their momma.

The chicks are still growing and will soon be the size of their momma.

Taking care of a broody hen is fairly easy. Just be mindful of getting pecked when checking the eggs.

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You are somewhere that doesn’t have computers or the internet or mobile phones.  Write about trying to describe a praying mantis to someone who has never seen it.

On Corn MantisOnDoor Silhouette

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We own seven chickens, laying hens to be precise.  They have a highly engineered, very heavy chicken coop with run that is made of wood and wire.  The coop has a “man-door” and two side doors that allow access to the laying boxes.  The feeder and waterer hang from chains so that they stay, uh, cleaner.  The coop also has detachable wheels that allow it to be moved.  The wheel system has been re-engineered once since we put the hens in it.  All in all it serves its purpose nicely.

This morning, I awoke early to the sound of rain hitting my roof and windows.  I got up, showered, dressed for the day, put wood in the stove, started the coffee, and ate breakfast while the rain came down.  Finally, somewhere around ten or so, the rain let up.  I decided to go feed the chickies and collect eggs.  So, I walked out onto the screen porch and put two scoops of chicken feed into the red, plastic bucket.  I walked off the porch with an expectant Thor looking at me.  Once I got to the bumper of Joshua’s truck, I picked up the stick I had put there and threw it for Thor.  Then I walked toward the slight hill that leads down to the chickens.  I got beside the mid-construction greenhouse and slipped in the mud.  Happily, I did NOT fall.  YAY!

I continued carefully down the slight hill.  Once safely at the bottom, I turned toward the coop.  *slip*  That one surprised me, but still I stayed on my feet and did not spill the feed I carried.  So…I get to the chickens, who started to talk to me as soon as they saw me.  There were six in the run, which meant that one was in one of the coop’s three laying boxes.  After feeding the chickens and talking with them, I opened the far laying box.  No eggs.  I open the door to the first two laying boxes.  No chicken but there were eggs.

Anyway, opening the laying box must have startled the one chicken because she proceeded to read me the riot act and protest my intrusion.  I apologized and headed up to the house with the eggs.  On the way into Janine’s trailer, I decided to visit the freezer to see if we had any popcorn.  And there, I discover a bag of no longer frozen pepper stir fry.  Since Janine went to the freezer many days before, I figured that the peppers needed to go to the chickens.

So, back down the hill to the coop I go.  This time I was very careful about where to place my feet and did not slip once.  The irate chicken was still irate when I arrived.  I opened the bag of veggies and poured them out on the ground.  The other six chickens started eating and talking about their treat.  Suddenly, out comes the no longer irate chicken who immediately started enjoying the treat.

The moral of the story: Irate chickens will shut up when presented with a treat!

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