Smoke’s tactic to have an egg to sit on

Flame is happy to lay her eggs next to a little girl and if it’s a broody girl they get to sit on Flame’s eggs. Flame could lay in one of the empty nest boxes but she actually seeks out a nest box with a little girl in it.

Flame laid her egg next to Smoke yesterday and Smoke sat on it as soon as Flame left the nest box.

Ebony is quite different. Whereas Flame seems drawn to little girls in the nest box Ebony has no tolerance of them at all. Ebony has no time for little girls either in the nest box or out of it and will peck them away from her.

Today Ebony was in the nest box getting ready to lay her egg. I had lifted Smoke for a break and Smoke realised Ebony was in the nest box. Smoke wasn’t brave enough to try to join Ebony in the nest box but Smoke wanted Ebony’s egg to sit on.

Smoke kept a vigil at the ramp of the nest box. Sometimes I swear these broody girls have a sixth sense when another girl is laying an egg. I have known the broody girl leave the nest box they are in to sit on an egg laid in the next nest box. We think they are alerted by the sound of a girl leaving a nest box.

Smoke could see Ebony in the nest box so she decided to wait outside. She had her wings raised and was determined to wait it out. If I moved her aside she would instantly take up her position again.

Ebony is in the nest box while Smoke waits outside

Smoke is on alert outside the nest box while Ebony lays her egg

And here is Smoke sitting on Ebony’s egg until I removed it

These broody girls are very determined. I am not even trying to break Smoke out of this as sometimes when I take her out of the nest box she will stand and shout her head off and she is the loudest of all our girls. Smoke can shout even louder than Ebony and that’s saying something!

I now just take Smoke out mid morning and mid afternoon for a break and lift her every time I go in to check if is she is sitting on an egg and if she is I remove the egg. I will let it take it’s course.

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6 Responses to Smoke’s tactic to have an egg to sit on

  1. Sophie says:

    One VERY determined broody!!! :-0 xx

    • Carol says:

      Smoke is the most determined of all. As you know when they sit they are in the zone, in a trance like, state. Waiting at the ramp was different. Smoke was on alert, she had her wings raised and was quivering. She wasn’t about to give in though. It’s a shame really as I took her hard won egg away from her. xx

  2. david says:

    Lovely observations! My Butterscotch has lost a coouple of tail feathers, but has still been laying and today turned broody, protesting very loudly when I removed her and collected the 3 eggs she had managed to purloin (one was hers).

    • Carol says:

      They still go broody even when they have ragged feathers or are losing feathers and as you say are loudly upset when you remove the eggs they have managed to collect.

      The day before yesterday I lifted Smoke who was next to Ebony in the nest box and was sitting on Flame’s egg. Ebony hadn’t yet laid her egg but once I had removed Smoke Ebony was using her beak to move Flame’s egg beneath her.

      It is as if they see an egg and must get it beneath them even when not broody. I removed Flame’s egg and Ebony went on to lay her egg. It made me realise how instinctive this is even when not broody. It was if there was an egg so it needed to be moved to the warmth of Ebony while she was near it even though not broody herself.

  3. marion says:

    They look very attractive when the are broody.

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