Sally’s broody, and I got stung by a bee.

May 4, 2010

The New Hive

It sounds like a country western song, doesn’t it? I’ll just go with that theme and say “Dang! It hurt!”. I had forgotten how much it hurt to be stung. Not immediately- but within about five minutes. Ouch! There I was, mindin’ my own business, trying to get one of my last two beds double dug. I was about twenty feet from the hive- enough to feel comfortable. But, one of the workers kept buzzing me. I just ignored her, thinking that she was foraging and that she would leave me alone. Bees don’t typically sting you unless they’re threatened. All of a sudden she landed on my neck and stung me. A victim in my own back yard. I’m sure it had nothing to do with the fact that I swatted at her . . . hmmmm.

And then there’s Sally. She’s my only girl with a broody tendency. When hens go broody, they want to hatch a clutch of eggs. They stop laying and sit in the laying box all the time. They lose weight, and they don’t eat or drink enough. Their comb gets droopy. All in all, they get sort of pathetic. It’s a hormonal cycle that lasts roughly 21 days- long enough to hatch a clutch of eggs. There’s a lot of talk among chicken owners about how to break a broody hen. Some measures are pretty draconian. Some will put their hen in a cage by herself and suspend her from the roof of the hen house. Some withhold food and water for a day or two. I’m not really comfortable with any of those measures- so I just let her stay broody and do her thing. It is sort of a pain, though. Like I’ve said before, she gets nasty when she’s broody. She poofs out her feathers to look big and aggressive when you get close to her, and she growls at you when you reach underneath her to get eggs out. As much as a chicken is capable of cognition and emotion, I think that the other girls get sort of irritated with her. They all like to lay in the same nesting box, and when she’s broody, Sally monopolizes it for three weeks straight. It’s sort of funny, though, to see two big hens trying to cram into the same box.

That’s it for now. More adventures from the garden later.

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