An update on Margo the chicken

Margo the chicken is still broody. Expert advice and the internet seem to agree (which is not always the case) that she should snap out of it after about 21 days. That’s how long it usually takes for an egg to hatch but, of course, there’s no cockerel around so the eggs aren’t fertilised. So she has perhaps five or six days to go.

It was suggested to us that we get some fertilised eggs from a poultry farmer so that we’d have some chicks but, even though Margo’s mothering instincts should take care of them, we’re not sure we want the stress of adding two tiny birds to the existing three.

 Margo (left) up to no good on the table with her late friend Barbara last summer.

Margo (left) up to no good on the table with her late friend Barbara last summer.

So Margo spends all day in her hen house sitting on any eggs that are in the nesting box. Mabel and Hetty clamber in and try to lay on top of her and she sits on those too. A couple of times a day I open the side door to feed Margo with a jug to make sure she’s getting enough to eat but once she’s had enough she pecks and hisses and gets quite aggressive.

Each day I try to force her out of the house with a golf club so we can remove the eggs. If she sits on them too long, they’ll get warm and go bad. Getting her off the nest for a bit each day might also break the broody cycle sooner.

Yesterday morning I seven-ironed her out of the house and she went bananas, squawking and flapping her wings and then chasing Hetty in a big circle in the garden. Then she calmed down and joined the others free-ranging in the leaves, dust-bathing near the fence and I thought for a while she might have forgotten about her nesting instincts. But no, within an hour she was back in the house. I opened the side door and her feathers were all fluffed up so she appeared to be enormous. One peck was enough to persuade me to leave her be and let nature take its course.