We have a broody bird!
That's the news we were greeted with when we returned from our vacation. We had been away for a full week, "enjoying" the humidity and rain and steamy heat of New England. While we were gone, our chickens (and 95% of our plants/garden/etc.) survived a terrible heat wave thanks to the outstanding efforts of our next door neighbors.
Having chicken owners living next door is an incredible convenience. They took extra special care of our house and chickens during the unexpected heat.
But when we got home and were still pulling our luggage out of the car, our neighbors came out of their house and walked across the lawn. They looked almost solemn. I got a nervous feeling and began to prepare myself for the bad news. What terrible catastrophe happened while we were gone?
"You can't be home! We didn't check for eggs yet!"
Phew! That didn't sound so bad. Why the long faces?
"I think one of your hens is broody. She hasn't left the box..."
Sure enough, I went out to check after we got our bags out of the driveway and Mathilda was sitting in the egg box. When I peeked in she puffed up her feathers and made a rude screeching noise I've started calling her Velociraptor scream. She stayed there all day. We braved the risk of pecking and peeked under her -- no eggs. Silly bird.
So now I get to read up on how to deal with broody hens.
But the vacation was fun. The teasing I expected from my relatives for keeping urban chickens never materialized. There were a few Q&A sessions, but no teasing... One thing I expected to see while we were out there was chickens. I had read other folks' blogs about how once they started keeping chickens, they noticed more chickens out in the world while on vacation or whatnot. Well, we saw only one place that looked like it might have a little coop out in the back. We were in rural New Hampshire, which I figured would be ripe grounds for chicken spotting, but no luck.