Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Naughty Henny Penny

Raising chickens has been such a learning experience for me. Three or four years ago, when my son and I incubated those first eggs, I thought it was going to be a great science project. Little did I know that I would continue to learn so much more about chickens. My newest discovery is that hens can turn into aggressive, egg hoarders which I just learned are called by the name of a brooding hen. I have named my brooding hen Henny Penny.
Gizmo (black rooster) and Henny Penny (golden hen)

Henny Penny is not only protecting her eggs, she is hoarding the eggs of her housemates. When I advance towards her she puffs up, both her neck and her rear, yet somehow she stays firmly planted on "her" eggs. Without moving, she skillfully lashes out with her sharp, quick beak. Last night, shielded by my scrap bucket in one hand and the scrap bucket lid in the other, she still managed to peck my finger. This did not please me. After several attempts I grabbed the shovel...don't worry, I only THOUGHT about whacking her on the head. Poking at her with the handle end of the shovel did no good. She ferociously pecked the handle. I was scared she'd fill the shovel handle with holes. I tried the other end of the shovel, gently nudging underneath her. She didn't budge. The only thing she did was make noise as her beak tinged on the metal shovel. Ting, Ting, Ting. And between the tings I could hear the scratch, scratch, scratch. Behind me stood Gizmo, the beautiful yet feisty man of the hen house. Gizmo didn't like that I was ruffling his favorite girl's feathers and scratched the ground like a bull preparing to charge. My hen house is no longer safe. Gizmo may be sharing space in the stew pot with Henny.

This weekend I will try to separate Henny and her beau. I'll be equipped with long, thick sleeves and work gloves. I'm wondering where I can find a welder's mask (or whatever they call those things). The thought of Henny Penny leaving puncture wounds all over my face is a bit frightening. Or maybe I'll just send The Boy in to do my dirty work. I could sell it as a "great adventure"....and maybe offer him some cash. In their separate home, I will be safe to gather the eggs from my other ladies while Henny and Gizmo can make some babies for me. I love baby chicks.

Please pray for my safety. I will try to take a few pictures....if I am courageous enough to carry the camera - I may need my hands to cover my head! ;)

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  1. Separating her from the rooster won't change her mind. Hens will go broody, even in the absence of a male. She just has to get over it! :)
    I, on the other hand, am hoping my Buff Orpington DOES go broody for me! We need the extras!

  2. Awww, broody hens are the cutest. I have one who goes broody all the time - and we don't have a rooster.

  3. After learning to wear leather gloves and bringing a shield to protect my face, I was able to have the confidence to gently nudge her off the nest. I'm thankful for the excitement that she, and the others, have added to my life. :)

  4. Oh my goodness, it sounds like you definitely have your hands full! I had no idea hens would steal other hen's eggs! I hope Henny Penny adjusts her attitude before she ends up in the stew pot. I'd be sorely tempted to pop her in there about now!

  5. April, she started behaving after I showed her who was boss (while threatening the stew pot!)! lol! She no longer steals eggs....or attacks me. :)