category: Jims Guatemala

One of our chickens is brooding. This is funny, because we’ve been eating her eggs as she lays them, but nonetheless she’s decided she’s going to just sit on nothing and not leave the coop. I know she’s not sick, because she puffs up and glares at me when I get too close, and pecks me when I reach in. Look how annoyed she looks.

broodingSM.jpgI guess the brooding thing is cyclical. There is so much we don’t know about chickens! Our other chicken, Whitey, was also broody but about a week ago she decided to start going out again. Soon thereafter, she started laying more eggs. Since the brown one is still broody, she’s sortof stolen all of Whitey’s eggs and is now sitting on them. We have a babysitter.

Supposedly, 20 days is the incubation time for chickens. We’re kindof excited about having chicks, so we are leaving the eggs under the chicken to see what happens. But I still have questions: do the eggs just sit dormant until the chickens start sitting on them continuously? Most of the time, the chickens just lay and go about their business, totally ignoring their eggs. I thought originally that getting cold killed the eggs, but now I wonder if they are actually just dormant until there are several in the nest, at which time the chicken starts incubating them, keeping them continuously warm for the required 20 days, venturing out only rarely for a quick bite and a drink of water. This would have the advantage of all the chicks hatching at about the same time, instead of staggered over a week or two, which would be tricky for the chicken. How WOULD you guard some feisty, mobile chicks while still sitting on the rest of the unhatched eggs?

In other chicken news, we did our third chicken vaccination training in a village to the west of us. This town had a lot of chicks for some reason, and we did them with eyedrops only. That only protects them against Newcastle disease, unlike the injected vaccine that protects against three diseases, but I have no idea how to stick a needle in a cute little yellow fuzzball. They best part is that the women of the village carried big, wiggling sacks of chickens; the chicks were carried in little morrales by their toddler daughters.

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This last chicken we vaccinated was so funny looking we laughed out loud. It looks like it stuck its toe in a light socket! We have seen a few of this breed around the valley, and I would really like to know what they are so I can get a few when we get home. They are ridiculous.

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Posted by: jfanjoy