After finishing construction of the broody box Wednesday afternoon, I eagerly awaited dusk when I would transfer Calamity Jane and her brood. She hadn’t particularly noticed me putting the eggs under her that morning (I often root around under her for a random egg she might be sitting on), so I wasn’t very worried she would reject the eggs, but there was still a chance the new nest and relatively new eggs would be a bad combo.
I decided to give her a chance to see where she was before full dark settled in. Out I crept with the egg carton. I rooted out the seven eggs, trying to maintain them in the same horizontal position in which she had been incubating them, and brought them over to the new nest. Then I grabbed CJ, gently extracting her from the tiny nest box she had been calling home (11 3/4″ wide by 12″ deep by 15″ tall tapering to 12″ tall at the back).
She allowed me to carry her over to the broody box and place her down on the fresh shaved wood of the new nest. She looked at the eggs a bit, then walked over to the food and water. Had a snack, enjoyed some sips, came back to inspect the eggs, ran away, came back – and then she laid a giant turd half-down on the eggs. Nice. As I scooped the two turds out, I started to worry that this might not go well.
But I put the lid back on the box and retreated to observe. She got back in the nest box and settled down in the very back corner, like she would in the tiny nest box. Except that in this box (24″x 15″ x 18″), sitting in this position mean that only a few of the eggs were under her. She used her beak to scoop some of them under her breast, but they didn’t all make it in. I wondered if the ones she had half-pooped on were among those currently excluded. I watched her try again to get eggs under her, then went back there and shoved the rest underneath. After all, this is animal husbandry not The Nature of Things.
She did not reject the eggs I put underneath her and she has been calmly sitting on them for two days now. Clearly she is taking breaks (poop build-up outside the nest by the food and water), so all is well – for now…