Sorry to have asked a question/for input and then be gone for a while - life/work sort of landed on my head. Just caught up. Thanks so much for everyone's input on the "younger breeding groups" question. All very helpful. I'm not in a huge rush to make babies - I was horrified to realize that counting chicks I have 63 chickens right now!!!!!! Some are set to be culled, but it's still a lot! (fortunately some are still babies for now). Pullets are easy to keep and watch and wait to see if I want them to be breeders, but it's just very very hard for me in my situation to keep multiple boys on hand and grow them all out, and I'm needing to make culling decisions on them much sooner. I'm narrowing my focus, but I need to work my way there... I realize that this limits my ability to do the very best with them, but I may just have to work with some of those limitations (unless and until I move to a proper farm).
Do broody hens ever STOP being broody after not being allowed to hatch eggs over a period of time? I'm getting quite a workout removing and relocating these girls over and over again and am desperately hoping they'll just get tired of it and go back to being hungry and "normal".
I just had my first broody experience - Lissa, one of my Cream Legbars, went broody on her first birthday. I used frozen water bottles (swapping them out as they thawed, and moving them back under her if she switched nests) because I was swamped and it was the best I could do at the time. She was very determined to hatch out those water bottles for a few days...
I was going to put her in a cage this weekend to break her, but it looks like she is already broken now - she was off the nest this evening, and stayed off and wandered around outside. To be sure, I picked her up, and she was cooler and didn't growl, so I walked around with her with her belly exposed just to be sure, then sat down and watched the babies (HER babies, actually, hatched in the incubator at Easter) - she's not my friendliest hen, but she really seemed to enjoy it (including me blowing on her belly)...
I'm reaching a point of high frustration. I had minor surgery a little over a week ago and while feeling great and recovering well, I discovered yesterday that I managed to pull part of the incision open again, though the stitches are still intact. The surgeon instructed me yesterday to get good at doing nothing for the next two weeks.
Not only am I NOT good at depending upon my husband and son to care for the chickens, I've got a lot of plans that I need to be acting on now to keep us from getting overwhelmed as my recent hatches continue to mature....and I can't do a darn thing about it. I had finally reached the mental point of being ready to cull extra cockerels and hens, rearranging housing, etc. and instead I'm dead in the water.
Oh well....at least all of my spreadsheets look fantastic.
So sorry to hear this - I know it's so frustrating. Part of why I've been away is that my back seized up pretty badly, which was very painful and kept me from doing a lot of stuff that really needed to get done, at work and at home. (Fortunately, while this happens to me sometimes, it gets better - but it takes time.) It's infuriating to know that there's so much to do and not be able to do it. Here's for speedy healing.
Speaking of spreadsheets, I've been so swamped I haven't even gotten weights on my GNH chicks (which I really need to do). I'm going to try to get them this weekend.
- Ant Farm