Thursday, May 14, 2009

"what do you do with a broody bantam?":
a sea shanty for baby madge

what do you do with a broody bantam?
what do you do with a broody bantam?
what do you do with a broody bantam,
earl-eye in the mornin'?

Sweet little Baby Madge is hankering for a family. One night a couple of weeks ago I saw her in a laying box right at dusk, and when I went to open up the coop the next morning she was still there. I thought she'd had a late afternoon urge to lay an egg and fallen asleep in the process. The next night we were gone for a Cub Scout campout. The neighbor who tended the girls told me she was worried about Madge -- she didn't seem sick but she'd been sitting in the box all day. I'm a little slow, but eventually, 2 + 2 = oh dear. We have a broody bantam, and she's only 9 months old!

Miss Madge has chosen the favorite nesting box of all the hens, and from the evidence, they've been either squeezing in alongside her to lay, or popping in when she takes a break, because until lately all the eggs were in that box. I gently lift Madge every afternoon to discover 1-4 new eggs, nice and hot from her setting. Of course, while she's tending the clutch, she's not laying any eggs of her own, so we haven't had any tiny ones in a while. The big girls seems to have given up on sharing the box -- yesterday I found 4 cold eggs in the 'alternate' laying box on the bright side of the coop.

It's supposed to take about 3 weeks to hatch a clutch. Baby Madge should be out of maternity confinement soon. No chicks to show for it, but at least she won't have all those sleepless nights to deal with.

let her keep a settin' til the broodin's over . .
earl-eye in the mornin'!

Oh, and the new bigger coop is finally done. The girls have been in it since spring break. For anybody who's looking for chicken coop ideas, I promise to post building photos before too long. Here's what it looks like -- I'm pretty proud of building it entirely from recycled materials.

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