Brooding over what it means to be a chicken
Photo by Laura Field
A certain type of hen is about as useful for egg laying as a porcupine is for cuddling. This hen will monopolize a single nesting box for months at a time and lay next to nothing for eggs. If you happen to be another hen who wants to lay an egg in that box, too bad, you’re out of luck because this primadonna chicken doesn’t give a damn about your feelings or your problems. The only thing she cares about is doing whatever it takes to hatch the few eggs underneath her, no matter how long she has to sit. I’m talking, of course, about The Broody Hen.
Each spring I find about one broody girl in the flock. The morning that my sweet-tempered Diane glared at me from inside her nest, fierceness dancing in her orange eyes, I knew she was the one. She might as well have drawn a line in the sand and said, “Cross it. Make my day.” But whether I crossed it or not, her situation was hopeless. Even if Diane did harbor eggs underneath, no rooster lived on the premises to have fertilized them.… Read the rest