We seem to keep having two broodies at once. I suppose that as Smoke is such a regular broody it is bound to happen that she is broody along with another girl from time to time. This time it is Smoke and Ebony.
It is frustrating when this happens because Smoke is the most consistent layer of the little girls, when she is laying, that is and the big girls are the most regular layers overall.
Smoke laid eight eggs in ten days this time round and it’s Ebony’s first broody spell of the year. Ebony was only broody once last year but she stayed broody for a month and then took another two weeks to start laying again. She did, however, continue to lay until the end of November which was two months longer than Flame.
Because Ebony was broody for so long last year I have decided to try to break them out of it and if it doesn’t work with Smoke I would like to at least break Ebony out of it. It means such a drastic fall in our eggs to have Ebony out of lay for such a long time.
I had already been closing the nest boxes at the end of the day to encourage Smoke and Ebony to roost in the chicken shed at bedtime. This works for Ebony but Smoke has been sitting in the corner of the chicken shed instead of perching. At dusk I lift Smoke to the perch.
The next step was to close the nest boxes once Salmon and Spangle had laid. Marmite hasn’t laid for a month so is unlikely to need to and Flame has formed the habit of laying in the corner of the chicken shed so this doesn’t effect her.
Salmon and Spangle have been laying every other day at the moment so this means that on the days in between I can keep the nest boxes closed.
Ebony is determined and has been sitting on top of the nest box instead of inside it. I have had to resort to putting buckets on top of the nest boxes to deter her.
Smoke is an angry broody and if another girl gets anywhere near her she puffs herself up to to make herself as big as possible.
Ebony was just out of shot on the right hand side of the photo which was making Smoke puff herself up. I know I shouldn’t be amused to see this but I can’t help it!
I am not sure how long this going take. Who will crack first the girls or me!