Thursday, April 16, 2009

"Hen to Set" Saga: 8

We continue to watch the process of a Hen Setting. Lacey is on Day 3 with 18 to go, assuming all goes well.

We have been engaging in many conversations, here on the Farm and with others who have embarked on similar adventures. In talking with Ilse on Tuesday, we learned that she and Rolf have had difficulties getting a Hen to Set. They also have tried to set Buff Orpingtons. That's what Lacey is. Buffs are an old Breed advertised to be "Good Mothers". Ilse says all seems to go well for that 1st few days, and then the Hennie leaves the clutch behind. Their speculation is that these Birds are incubator Birds and have not had the experience of Setting and Rearing Young. Now that is a "fine How-Do-You do", as the Old Timers would say.

Richard, our resident Ornithologist, suspects that the Hennie may leave the clutch because she is not sufficiently fed. Their behavior on the nest is intense. Sometimes they neglect food and water. They have even been known to starve. Ideally, they will leave the nest about 2 times a day for food, water, and pooping. We are making sure that Lacey has access to food and that she leaves the nest 2 times during the day. Her appetite is voracious. She feeds almost in a frenzy. And her poops are huge, way bigger than the normal size. Then, in a flash, she is right back on the nest.

The picture above shows Lacey off the nest. Melanie had pushed her off the nest. She ran around the House, all cranky and all fluffed. That's common behavior for Broody Hennies. Once back on the nest, she rearranged herself over the Eggs and added more straw.
In case you wondered what Lacey sees, the following photo gives you are pretty good idea. We Humans are pretty excited about this adventure. And we are trying not to make nuisances of ourselves. It's hard.

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