Anyhow, this is my rabbit run at home in the back garden:
And normally the only tenants are my rescue rabbits mother and daughter duo Mimi (the daughter):
They were in the adoption section of a local pet shop and i couldnt resist them knowing I had space in the back garden for them. The run was orginally sectioned off to grow veg in and so the dogs couldnt trample my palnts but the soil is useless and full of stones so that area was just going to waste.
So the two rabbits have been living happily together for about 6 weeks now in their new big run, their hutch is always open so they go in and out as they please.
They have a new tenant now though Martha Brahma Hen (to use her full name):
Martha has been reeking havoc down on the allotment lately. She has been attacking the other hens, she's not been letting the other in the hen house to lay, she's been sitting on laid eggs then attacking me when I try to get them - because she is broody.
Now I've never had to deal with a broody hen before, I tell you what it's hard work!! She's really grouchy and well if im honest like a hormonal female (sorry ladies, but you know it true!) She's become so bad that i've had to take her out of the allotment pen and bring her home so the others can have a bit of peace and are safe. So shes in with the rabbits.
Now with a broody, there two things you can do (apparently, and its at this point I would like to thank all my chickeny friends who have advised me over the last few days) you can either break the broodiness or give her some eggs. To break the broodiness from what i can gather you have to bring their body temperature down which means dunking their bum in cold water (I can tell you know Martha is not going to go for this as an idea) and put ice packs wrapped in towels under them in the nesting box, thus bringing their temperature down because if you think about it when they are broody and they are hatching babies they are basically walking incubators.
Now it just so happens that as Martha became broody I've also had the opportunity to extend my run by another 36sq foot, and really would it be the worst thing in the world to have more hens?!!
So this morning I've been and bought some hatching eggs:
I went to a lovely nearby place called Pear Tree Poultry, where a man called Ken couldn't have been more helpful. Bare in mind I've never hatched eggs before I've only bought them from a day old so I don't really have a clue. Ken advised me it take 21 days for her to hatch them after which she will probably 'look after' them for about 6 weeks, by which time she'll have had enough. She can go back to the allotment then and then the chicks have to go under the electric chick heater until about 16 weeks. He also advised me to get half a dozen because Martha hen might stand on them and break them. But when I aired my concerns that what if all 6 hatch he said he would happily be able to take some back. The place itself, well I tell you if you ever need to get hens, ducks, geese etc... I would consider going that extra mile out of your way to go to Pear Tree Poultry. Their animal welfare is second to none. Their hens are kept in great condition and are kept in the biggest spaces. They are a definite must and I would without a doubt be going back there in the future.
So I've got home put the eggs in a big box for martha hen and I'll let you know how they get on.