The bantam Golden Seabright from my previous post gave up immediately when I took her eggs away from her, but the three of them continue to fly over the fence and hide their eggs each day.
When broody banty number 2 disappeared about 2-3 weeks ago, I immediately assumed she had gone broody, but a search of our property turned up nothing. If she had made her way over to the neighbor's big barn, there wasn't anything I could do about it, so it was wait and see.
Two days ago she finally made an appearance, popping out briefly to find something to eat. She was very impatient and nervous and demanded that I bring her food right away. She then threatened to whoop the cat if he didn't get out of her way and proceeded to eat from the cats' dish. As she briskly made her way back to her hiding spot, I was able to trail her and saw her duck in here:
A small recess in the bottom of my husband's wood pile. He has been working on splitting this wood every few days and it's a wonder she wasn't squashed by the unstable pile of logs! She never came running out, never made a peep, just laid low, waiting and hoping not to be noticed.
The weather here has been hitting record highs for the month of December with the strong El Nino going through. Many days have been in the 60's and 70's. We've scarcely burned any firewood this year so far. But tomorrow night is forecast to go below freezing, so I made the decision to move her and her eggs to a safer, warmer location.
Chicken solitary confinement.
I didn't want to risk finding frozen peeps or worse yet, a frozen mama banty.
She was a little peeved with me and very agitated at first, but after she ate, drank, relieved herself and preened her feathers, she finally did settle back down on her eggs. Of the 14 eggs I removed from the nest, 5 were warm and viable. I candled the others to verify their demise. We even saw these 5 WIGGLE a couple of times. Yay! :D If I remember correctly, she has been gone at least 2 weeks, or perhaps nigh unto three. We may have some new peeps here very soon!
I have no idea what I'm going to do with them. As broody and sneaky as these banties are and given how chicken math works they could multiply quite rapidly come summertime. These little girls have a major advantage over the standard size pullets in hiding their nests from me. :\