Lately we’ve noticed that one of our chickens, Lady Gaga, has gone broody. Every morning and every night when we unlock or lock the chooks up, Lady Gaga is sitting on the eggs, puffing herself up, warning us to stay away.
For some chicken breeds (and our ducks), this is a normal and regular occurrence. But when I got my chickens, I purposely bought a ‘commercial’ breed (Hyline) to make things easy on myself while I learned about owning chickens. A commercial breed is more docile, you’re guaranteed girls, and you can rely on them to produce eggs. But the urge to go broody is also mostly bred out of them.
That said, Lady Gaga seems to get the urge to sit on eggs every summer. In the past we weren’t allowed roosters so we put her in a broody cage and forced her to stop sitting. Even though she was well cared for in there, it always felt mean. So this year (now we are free to have roosters as well), we’re giving her the gift of motherhood.
Of course, that’s a bit difficult without a rooster. So I used TradeMe to find some fertile eggs. I chose Rhode Island Red/Brown Shaver cross and paid $10 for 6 of them. I chose this particular breed because the chicks should be good layers, and they should be brown when they grow up. Apparently, chooks are pretty racist so I’m doing that to reduce the chances of our existing chooks being dicks to the new ones.
The eggs are marked with an X so we can tell the difference between them and the eating eggs. I’m hoping for 3-6 new chooks. Our chook house can hold up to 12, and we currently have 5, so if we get a full-hatch we’ll still have room.
I’ve got some new names planned for the girls. My ‘theme’ for chicken names is ‘powerful women’. We’ve already got Lady Gaga, Hinemoa, Metiria, Cindy (who is waay too naughty to be called Jacinda) and Judith (who is most likely to peck you). On my list for the chicks are Megan (Rapinoe), Greta (Thunberg), and Lizzo.
We’ve never had roosters before, so a new naming system is required. I really love the idea of naming them after drag queens. Afterall, roosters are way more flamboyant than your average chook. My favourite options at the moment are Latrice Royale and Shangela. Halleloodle doo!
We shall see how the roosters go. They may yet end up in the pot, but I’d definitely like to get some breeding going to replace our current chooks. At 2 and a half years old, they’re nearing the point at which we expect to begin losing them occasionally, or where they head into retirement.
Chicken eggs take 21 days to hatch. The ones we got were put under Lady Gaga on December 18, so we’re expecting to see something happening in the second week of January. So far Lady Gaga has barely moved, so our fingers are crossed.
A long time ago, when the dream to own a place like this was just forming, a friend and I refered to it as #chickenfarm. I never really intended to farm eggs, or chickens, but I have come to enjoy having their fuzzy butts around.
I can’t wait to see this works out.