Big Fat Momma is in the Cooler again. I’ve renamed the Chicken Coop the Chicken Clink, as it was the only way to make sense of Christopher’s ridiculous monikers for the newest generation of chickens. They all sound like prison names to me.
So BFM – the queen of The Clink – is currently in solitary to cool off because she’s broody. Again. She goes broody with alarming regularity. For the uninitiated this means she will retreat to a nesting box and stay there for days on end trying to hatch her eggs. This would be fine if her eggs were fertile – but they aren’t. For regular readers who are now presuming that Geoff the cockerel must be underperfoming – this isn’t the case – Geoffrey is a bantam cockerel and we keep the bantams separate from the full size chickens. In the bantam run Geoff performs morning, noon and night – it’s pretty relentless for those girls. But for the chickens it’s different. There isn’t a cock in the clink. So to speak.
Anyway I digress – even if we remove BFM’s eggs, she’ll just stay put on an empty nest trying to hatch imaginary ones. You can’t ignore a broody hen because she will take the job of sitting on her eggs (real or imagined) so seriously that she may well forget to eat or drink and will lose condition – or worse – die. The best way to stop broodiness is to cool the hen down. I do this by putting her in a cage which is raised on bricks so she can’t make herself too comfortable and start nesting – she has to perch. The cage is protected from the rain and wind and has its own supply of food, water and grit. It’s actually an old puppy cage which has been recommissioned for the purpose. So it’s spacious, safe and boring. Importantly, the other chickens in the clink can still see BFM while she’s in the cooler – as it sits right in the middle of the chicken run – if we removed BFM from the clink altogether for a week or so while she cooled down then we’d upset the whole pecking order when we reintroduced her.
If you’re interested, currently the hierarchy looks like this:
• Big Fat Momma (queen of the clink)
• Little Titch (BFM’s daughter, the favoured one)
We then have a group of three:
• Red (starts fights)
• Vera (wants to dethrone BFM and become queen – definitely evil)
• Franky (bit of a sneak – hangs out with whoever is the most popular)
And lastly a further group of three much younger hens:
• Bitch (vicious)
• Doreen (nice but dim)
• Scrounger (steals food)
To complicate matters – and because he has trouble remembering names – Christopher sometimes refers to the hens collectively. He calls the first group of three The Supremes and the second group The Beverly Sisters. Clearly I’m not about make a complete idiot of myself by using these names – can you imagine me having to call the vet and say ‘can I make an appointment to bring in the Beverly Sisters?’. I rest my case – we’re sticking with the prison names for now.
I think the inmates should probably have their own TV series – “Hens Gone Bad”, or maybe “Chicken Wing”. So anyway – we’ll see how long it takes for BFM to sort herself out – when her comb turns red again (currently pink) I’ll know she’s earned her freedom again. In the meanwhile she’s pretty peeved about being in The Cooler. See for yourself.
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