Last week’s big surprise in the coop was the sight of Marissa the Cream Legbar pullet hunkered down in a nest box with her jaw set in determination as she tried to hatch eggs. “No!” I told myself. “Marissa can’t be broody! Legbars don’t go broody! Pullets don’t go broody!” Nevertheless, she spent an entire day on the nest, and when she was still nesting the next day, I decided it was time to do a little research.
|Marissa, her jaw set in determination, broods.|
First of all, Greenfire Farms, the only U.S. importer of Cream Legbars states very clearly on their website that Cream Legbar hens “are rarely broody.” So there you go. “Rarely” is not the same as never, but the odds certainly seem against broodiness in this breed.
So what’s the scoop on broody pullets? This little hen is barely out of her teens! Doesn’t she understand the risks of having kids at such a tender age? I couldn’t find anything from any of the experts I depend on regarding broody pullets, but when I checked the “Backyard Chickens” forum, there were several discussions regarding broody pullets. One flock keeper reported that one of her buff Orpington pullets started laying eggs at five-months-old and went broody three weeks later. Of course Orpingtons do have a reputation for going broody at the drop of a hat. The general impression I got from the information I sorted through on the forum is that any time a chicken is laying eggs they can certainly go broody, but that isn’t the usual behavior for pullets.
Basically, my research confirmed what I already thought I knew. Pullets rarely go broody. Cream Legbars rarely go broody. Combine those two things into one hen and it would be extremely unlikely that she would go broody. So I passed this information on to Marissa. She responded by puffing her feathers waaay out and dismissively stating, “Cluck, cluck, cluck, cluck.” Typical broody hen behavior. So that’s when I put her in the broody crate. I only kept her in there a couple of days. Even toward the end of the first day she was shaking her head and muttering, “What was I thinking!?”
Now she’s back with the flock and is a totally reformed hen. She’s not laying eggs, though, and may not for a bit, which is too bad since so many of the other hens are not laying because they’re going through their fall molt. Was this a sign that this little hen will continue having bouts of broodiness? That’s something only Marissa can answer, and in time, I’m sure she will.