Thursday, September 20, 2012

Dueling Sitters


Fall has come early here on the Shawhan farm. 2012 has brought all of its seasons early. Summer came in March and now fall has come in September; a month I remember reaching 90 degrees on more than one occasion. However, it decides to come, everyone around here is happy to have cooler weather. All the animals are outside more instead of loafing around in the barn all day.

I do have two cluckies who refuse to go out and enjoy the more moderate temperatures. Two hens from Flock 1 have decided now would be a good time to become broody, and I think they have made a competition out of it. (It is bad enough when one hen is in this mood. So far I have never dealt with two at the same time!)

As I was walking through the door the Cooptown the other day, I heard a clucking sound coming from nest box #2. It was a series of clucks, chirps and that guttural song chickens sing, I can't explain it, you would have to hear for yourselves. Anyhoo, it sounded a lot like the banjo music in Deliverance.  As soon as this "music" drifted out of next box #2, the EXACT same tune came from next box #3! This went on for several minutes, each time the melody shifted to the next box, it become more and more intense. It got to the point that I was looking over my shoulder for contorted hillbillies.
  "ENOUGH!" I screamed and lifted the box lid (which covers all three nesting areas.)

 What I saw shocked and then appalled me. I was shocked such horrific "music" could come out of my precious birds, and I was appalled that it was coming from the varsity team of Flock 1! (The same breed of chicken no less!) They looked up at me like I was losing my mind..and OK sometimes I do lose it because that is what owning chickens makes you do...

  I grabbed the first bird and plucked her up to see a bunch of eggs, roasty toasty warm.

  "HA HA count em up, mom. See how many I sat on today!" Though she spoke to me, she was staring at her sister.
  "Six eggs." I said and sat her back down. I gently collected her eggs and turned to the next box.

   "I have more eggs, mom. I beat her today! I beat her today!" The next bunch of ebony feathers told me.

Did you know, she was right? I didn't mention this to my first bird, hoping not to spark a competition or anything.

The next few days were the same, but at least they hadn't sang that song anymore. Occasionally you can hear shouts coming from the barn; taunts and threats, each claiming to sit longer than the other one and on more eggs. It came to a boiling point yesterday when Dan went in to hear "Your Momma" insults, which is ME! He went storming in there making all kinds of chicken dinner threats of his own, and dethroned the two misses by throwing them out of the boxes. I think they were too stunned to say anything, which was surprising..they had a lot to say the rest of the week.

They are still out there, sitting in adjacent next boxes. When you pick them up they get mad and puff out their neck feathers like a Cobra. I have a feeling it will be a long 21 days...

                                                                                            ...cluck... cluck... cluck...

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