18 November 2008

Where the Sleeping Hen Lies

We have a chicken who is currently living alone. As we mentioned in previous posts, Bertha's sisters are no longer with us. I would like to say they are in the big roost in the sky, but I don't want to come off as casual about their unfortunate end, or loose about faith (even if it is a poultry one at that). With Stella and Peggy-O's absence, Bertha has taken to sleeping, and subsequently shitting, in her nesting box. I know she probably feels safer and warmer there, but let's face it, sleeping in feces is not okay. Do any of you know what we could do to break her of this habit? Many thanks.


our friend Ben said...

Yikes! Do you mean that you all are down to one chicken?! As you know, cantankerous as they can be, chickens hate being alone; they're flock animals. I assume you don't want to adopt adult hens going into winter, but FYI, there are signs at our local feed store offering laying hens for free to a good home, and it might not hurt to get a hen or two to keep poor Bertha company. Otherwise, I'd try this: Put a marble egg in the (clean) nestbox, and tie a stuffed chicken or other appropriately-sized stuffed animal to the roost perch. This might give Bertha the hint that the nest boxes are for egglaying and the roost perches are for perching at night and snuggling up to that weird chicken that never moves or says anything. But, ahem, this is just a thought, not sound chicken science!

Farmgirl_dk: said...

Here's what I did: Breaking the Habit.

I also think Bertha needs some new sisters, stat.

Anonymous said...

yup - she needs friends - to keep her company and keep her warm.

meanwhile, i've seen people block the nest box off at night and open it in the morning when letting the chickens out. the nest boxes were made of wood and had a hinged wooden ledge that the chickens could stand on but would conveniently flip up and latch when the boxes weren't to be used (i.e. when chicks aren't laying and at night...to keep them from pooping in 'em). maybe you could rig something similar up?