Caution: Gratuitous Khuly Animal Update in Progress
It’s official. Broodzilla the broody hen is no longer broody. How do I know? Last week I collected two green eggs from the nesting box. Which can only mean one of two things: Either Broodzilla’s sister laid two eggs in one day (not her style), or Broodzilla’s back in business.
Of course, this math makes sense only if you know that a) of my eleven hens, only two lay green eggs, and b) Broodzilla was one of them.
In any case, this is indeed a happy event. Because when a hen is broody, she’s too busy sitting atop everyone’s eggs, trying to get them to hatch, to bother laying any herself. Moreover, this behavior is considered obnoxious by the other hens’ standards. Which means she’d inevitably be getting hen-pecked a bit here and there.
Now that she’s "cured," Broodzilla’s back to normal again … 'cept that she’s got no tail feathers. Read on for clarity:
Turns out the turning point for BZ’s broody to not-broody behavior (or so I’ve surmised) happened when one of the goats mis-stepped on her backside. In so doing, Broodzilla’s tail feathers were plucked out all at once (I have the evidence) and all kinds of chicken-y drama ensued.
Thankfully, I’m not privy to all the inter-hen drama that happens between feedings. I mean, unless they’re hurting one another, I’d almost rather not know. (I figure raising a teenager is bad enough already … why should I stress out any more for my backyard poultry?)
So what’s the moral of Broodzilla’s story? None … except for the notion that, as with humans, chickens are wont to take their time with making major life decisions. And that sometimes, even the most catastrophic events (e.g., a great many tail feathers were dislodged from their follicles) can have positive outcomes.
So what if she’s naked?
Gratuitous goat update: Tulip has been dried off as of June (i.e., I’m not milking her now.), but I will be seeking another mate for her. Whether he’ll be a real buck (like her last beau) or a straw man (as in a literal "straw," which is how semen is shipped for artificial insemination) I’ve still not decided, but I’m contemplating my alternatives at the moment.
And the dogs? Everyone’s copacetic, thankfully. All but for Gaston’s barking-attenuation workshop (which is a never-ending albatross), and Slumdog’s impossibly incorrigible indoor elimination ordeal (all mine, I assure you) … life. is. good.
The kitties, you ask? The enclosure has been painted. Shelves have been added. Feline acclimatization has ensued. All in all I’m feeling pretty lucky. Now, if only I could keep the hens from trying to steal the outdoor kitties’ food…
Doubt me? This pic (below) was taken immediately before the hen on the right attacked Lazarus (on the left), precipitating Sylvester’s (cat in the back) fretful foray into the peripheral brush .
Broodzilla's formerly posh tail.
A now tail-less, but no longer broody Broodzilla. (click to enlarge)
Tulip (left), who is ready to get jiggy, and Poppy (right).
Dr. Patty Khuly