Saturday, 8 December 2007

BROODY CHOOK


There I was, telling someone that the Isabrown chooks rarely go broody, and the next thing one of mine has. All day she sits on the eggs laid by the other chooks in the nesting box and, after I have removed them, she just keeps on sitting. She doesn't lay any eggs herself and causes disagreements when the other chooks want her to get out so they can lay their eggs. Obviously she is not finding this a pleasant experience as she growls at me, like a dog when I lift her out and then she gets even more angry and pecks at my legs and shoes in a rather nasty way. (Rather like how I have sometimes felt being a mother!) Time for treatment. Well two of my Wednesday gardening friends have chook varieties that are more prone to this crazy behavior and I have seen how they manage it. Although the length of time and the severity of the treatment differed, the gist of it was this. Put said chook into a wire bird cage, without any luxuries, hang it in a tree for 2 - 5 days and it will be cured.

Sally lent me her cage and now there is a lull in the hot weather I decided yesterday was the day. First up I put the chook into the cage and then looked around for somewhere to hang it. Woops, not much in reach since we cut down the cootamundra wattles. In an attempt to reach up and hook the wire onto a rather thin branch of another wattle I had to balance the cage down on my bent leg. For some reason I was doing this in shorts and t-shirt and the blasted chook attacked the skin of my leg through the bottom of the cage. Lesson number 1 : Assemble the cage before putting the chook in it ! Now, this chook is, even at the best of times, the least friendly and has never liked me touching it. So it was too late for that as I knew that if I took her out I'd be running around all afternoon trying to catch her again - something one learns to avoid.

There were a lot of harsh words spoken to this crazy bird, including various killing and cooking methods appropriate for oldish chooks! Eventually I did get it hooked up and went to get the hose to fill the old, plastic butter container Sally had previously wired onto the inside of the cage. That done I stood back - I thought I had won that little battle and I left her to settle in. She had been growling and clicking her beak at me but now she started shouting out in a most unfeminine way, sounding more like a rooster who had lost his lover! I imagined our less-than-friendly neighbours calling the RSPCA and me being hauled away, amid the paparazzi, and appearing dishevelled and broken on that night's TV news ! However, worse was to come as next she expressed her dissatisfaction with the whole situation by flapping madly and breaking the water container.

I was tempted, briefly, to leave her to die of thirst but then the neighbours really would have something to complain about. So I found another dish to use and headed back to the scene, amid the chaos and noise of one silly chook. I then realised I would have to put my hand inside the cage to get the old container off and then to attach the new one securely on. Once bitten, twice shy. Lesson 2: full armour. I went and changed to a heavy, long-sleeved shirt and rugged gardening gloves to prove that I was indeed smarter than a chook. This worked like dream and she pecked my hand and arm crossly and harmlessly over and over until she got sick of the whole thing and calmly stood watching.

Walking away and leaving her to it she started yelling again but, as it fell on deaf ears, she soon stopped and was on the way to recovering from her bad temper and broody behavior. Hopefully she will send up the white flag in a day or 2 and I will be able to let her rejoin the other chooks as a happy and grateful member of the flock.




Tony Scarfo's black turtle beans won the race to the top of the bean frame.






Roger mulched all the bark that blew down on Friday and now it makes a nice new layer on my vegetable garden paths.
ps have you noticed that 'anecdotes' is now at 45 while the next closest label only rates 31. If you read or see or hear something you would like to share, write it here. It doesn't have to be long or fantastic but I will love it and you for having a go. Not everyone wants to rave on like me, I know, but I think you will find its fun to contribute once in a while. Make it your Christmas present to me.

5 comments:

Maggie said...

Is that the strange noise us of the Plains heard last night!
Love the path.
We forgot to plant beans some folks near us are picking them already.

Kate said...

Its not too late. I sowed some more yesterday. I have lots of different varieties if you want some.

Deborah said...

I thought I should comment that Kate you should had done my chook course but..... what would you write about on the blog. Next time do it in the evening when its dark and the chooks are in their coma like sleep. Its much less stress ful on everyone and quiter as well. We had a batch of chicks hatch today.maybe you could consider hiring out broody hens as their often in demand.

Kate said...

You're right Deb. That would have been the sensible thing to do but once I decide to do something I want to do it straight away, never mind the consequences!

Anonymous said...

Well I Just loved reading your story about your chook and it brightened up my day. I to have 8 isabrown chooks and Randy the rooster. I would like one of mine to become broody, but no luck so far. I just love interacting with them they follow me around like I am the pide pipper and chase my car when I leave home. Thanks again for your wonderful story.