Russian Orloff In A Family Way!

Broody Svetlana

In all the years (ten) that we’ve had chickens, we’ve only had two hens go broody.  The first time was five or six years ago and, in that instance, we had no roosters.  That doesn’t seem to make much difference to the ladies of the coop.  They apparently don’t pay attention during Sex Education 101.  When they decide to have a family, they gather up all available eggs and sit on them, waiting for motherhood to happen.  Never mind that whole fertility thing.

That first time, we bought some fertile eggs from our down-the-street neighbors, Gordie and Susie Andrews.  Our hen accepted the trade-off and, in three weeks, hatched out two chicks who successfully joined the flock (only to be captured along with everyone else by marauding raccoons a few weeks later.)

This time, two out of seven of our flock are roosters.  Robust roosters!  And their favorite hen is this (now broody) Russian Orloff.  Since the roosters first discovered what being cocky was all about, they’ve been hanging out with her – won’t leave her alone, in fact.  She doesn’t seem to mind.  (Farmer Nyel calls her “Svetlana-the-Russian-Slut” or sometimes Slutvana, but don’t tell her. Now that she is in a family way, we want her to keep her dignity intact.)

Brooding Area in Progress

She “went broody” on Sunday, September 30th.  She’d been acting a bit moody before that, but on the last day of September, she refused to leave the nest box.  Period.   She was sitting on two eggs and Farmer Nyel placed three more newly-laid eggs from the other nest boxes under her ample girth.  In the best brooding fashion, she has not left her little clutch since – not that we have seen, anyway.  She probably sneaks out for a little water now and then, but until October 21st (EHD – Estimated Hatching Day), she will continue her maternal vigil.

The nest boxes are fully two feet off the coop floor – not a good spot for baby chicks to hatch.  Farmer Nyel’s broken leg is quite enough for one backyard chicken operation.)  So… we are trying to work out a safe place to move Mama and her eggs.  I do hope I’m up to the task.  Broody Svetlana is not one bit approachable right now.  In fact, one look at her face and you know how ‘broody’ got it’s second meaning!  YIKES!

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