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Sunday, June 16, 2013

Ye Olde Chicken Gaol

All the girls have been exhibiting broody behavior to varying degrees, but Tommie has been obnoxiously broody of late.  So much so that we had to do something.

So I built a jail for her.

Research seems to indicate that the best way to break broodiness is to isolate the bird in a wire bottomed cage so that her underside will cool off, and once you can get her body temperature down, she'll break broodiness and stop being such a crazy little fiend.  To borrow a term from The Great Escape, Tommie is going to spend three to four days in The Cooler.  Literally.

The jail has a water and a food bowl of course, but more importantly, it has a droppings board, made out of leftover metal roofing. I want to be able to build another broody breaker underneath the first one, because Buffy has also been broody of late, but not so bad as Tommie.
Tommie had actually taken to roosting in the nest box, and we'll have none of that.

Steve said that he came out the other day to check chickens and steal eggs and he saw only two hens in the enclosure.  When he opened the nest box door, sure enough, there were two big fat buff orpingtons and a little black sex link crammed in there.  It's only twelve by twelve. Inches.

In other news, we had a bad storm blow through early this week and I was crushed to find that it had blown down 85-90% of my wheat.  The sun the rest of the week raised it a little bit, but my understanding is that once wheat is down, it's down.  So bummed, but it appears to have a case of rust anyway, so I'm not even sure it would have made it all the way to maturity.

Good thing I'm planning potatoes anyway.

This year I'm trying potato baskets made of welded wire.  They are wrapped around the two-foot diameter stepping stones that the previous owner left.  I'll put some soil in and then fill it full of the dark, organic stuff from the compost pile, and we'll see how they do.

This was all I managed to do this weekend.

Oh- and hit the end of my finger with a hammer.


Rae said...

Love the chicken jail. Not diggin the broody so much around here either. I think we have 6 hardcore broodies right now. Birds that have never gone broody before are all set to be mommies. Maybe it's an odd year. In any case, I feel your pain, lady. :)

Miriam said...


That's bad news about the wheat - is any of it salvageable?

You'll forgive me if I don't show Kim The Cooler - she is behind on some essential projects and I don't want to give her any ideas. Yet! Maybe in a few weeks...

macbew said...

I'm including some links in this comment and I'm hoping you can help someone who is trying to escape domestic violence and keep her farm. The first link is Phelan at her blog "A Homesteading Neophyte" the second is the lady who needs our help Kat Murphy at her blog "Self sustained Living" and the third is her crowd funding page to help her keep her farm. I'm hoping if enough people see this she will be able to get the help she needs so she doesn't lose everything. Thank you for your help.

Tamar@StarvingofftheLand said...

Ah, broodies! Our Buff Orpingtons all go broody at the drop of a hat, and we break them the same way -- a wire-bottom cage. But I have a theory that maybe you can help prove or disprove. We're lazy about putting hens in the broody box, and tend to let it go for a couple of weeks, hoping she'll just snap out of it (I think that happened all of once). Once we cage them, it takes about 3 days for them to return to normal. Do you suppose, if you cage them at the first sign of broodiness, it would take less time? I hate seeing them in the cage, so less time would be a good thing. Please report back on how long your birds take to get back to the ordinary business of being chickens.

And I'm very sorry about your wheat.