My 27 week old EE Clover has been laying consistently for a few weeks. She has always taken forever sitting in the nest box, so much that my BR will squawk so she can lay in the same box. Clover sits in the nest for a long, long time.
I started finding a few downy feathers in the nest box the last few days and yesterday when I gave the girls treats, Clover was in the nest box and did not get out to forage for treats in the run as she usually does. She growled at me and puffed up her feathers when I tried to give her a favorite treat, raisins. A little velociraptor! Very intimidating. One hour later, she's still on that nest. Thankfully in the afternoon I went to let the girls into the yard and she was in the run and went into the yard. But she went back to sit on the nest again while the others were outside.
Today she had her morning treats, ate and pooped but was back on the nest and refused to go out into the yard. She did roost last night. And I bravely grabbed the eggs from under her. LOL. They were so warm!
I had decided if one of the girls went broody, that I would find some eggs to hatch. BUT I will be out of town for Thanksgiving and do not want them to hatch when I am not home... Bad timing. Don't know what to do. I do not want to dunk her in cold water or suspend her in a wire cage though.
Will this pass without hatching eggs? Can I wait 10-12 days to give her eggs? If I order eggs and might only want 2 additional girls, how many eggs would you order? I don't have anyone who would take the cockerels so I don't want to get too many eggs. If only 50% is an average hatch rate and 50% are females, should I get 8-9 eggs? Or do you allow for some breaking? If she has chicks will she stop being broody? I don't want only one new chick to integrate in the flock, right?
I pray she gets over her possible broody ways. I am still learning so much about chickens and getting comfortable with the pecking order, etc. I am not ready for new challenges... One girl has only laid one egg and then stopped. But that is another question.
Winter seems like a hard time to have chicks. Would mom keep them warm outside in winter? It is usually in the 40s and 50s in winter here. If I wait to order fertile eggs, is there a way I would know if she would abandon them? She is still laying but has the most determined look on her face.
Also, if we do get fertile eggs and I keep her in the coop with the other two, do I need to create a separate area for them when the chicks hatch?
Sorry for all the questions, but I don't know what to do!!! Thanks...