I know it looks cruel however these lovely ladies have gone off the lay and decided to get their cluck on. The symptoms of clucky chooks involve; ‘I’m not getting off my nest’, ‘don’t be touching these eggs’ and ‘oh, I am not laying anymore’. When the ladies go clucky they tend to sit on their eggs and when you approach them they fluff up like a puffer fish. Then if you are game to check for eggs under them they will take a swipe at you with their beaks.
Some of my girls are not the smartest chooks in the hen-house. Last time I had some clucky girls I put some eggs under them to try natural chicken rearing. One out of three of the girls was great she sat there for the full 21 days until those little peeps started. The other two couldn’t decided about which nest they were sitting in or which eggs were theirs. They also took little adventures during the day and would abandon the eggs. Needless to say they failed. Since then I bought myself an incubator to do the chicken rearing myself. That way I can trust that things are happening properly and when they come to hatch I will be here for them.
My mother hen abandoned her young when they were six weeks old. So I worked out that the girls would go off the lay for nine weeks to look after their young. Which is nine weeks with fewer eggs. However I do love watching a mother hen with a clutch of chicks running around after her. So cute. I might take this route of natural laying once a year just to watch the happy chicks.
My method for Un-Clucking our chooks is what I was taught when I was growing up. You isolate the clucky lady in a cage and have it lifted up off the ground. This way the air circulating her is cool and she wont be so inclined to sit. Also being away from her supposed nest also bothers her which means after a day or two she has forgotten all about it. I leave my girls in solitary for 3 days minimum with plenty of water and in the morning and evening I give them a little feed. I have had up to six girls go clucky at once and it was a tight fit but I found that they went back to their normal habits just after one full day and two nights in the cage. So each afternoon when the girls go to bed is when I can tell for sure which ones are clucky. I put them in for the night and they stay until I am convinced that they are no longer clucky.
With my light sussex hens I have found that they are the cluckiest in spring time and the lead up to summer. At the moment I only have one hen in confinement and she will be let out today as we have a big storm coming and I don’t want her to get wet. The other thing is to make sure your cage for your hens is protected from the weather and is in the shade so they keep cool especially on these hot days we are having.
How do you deal with clucky hens?