We have a broody hen. For those who may not know, a broody hen is one desires “motherhood”. Our hen has been broody for about 1 1/2 weeks so far, but keeps changing boxes. The cure is one of three things: 1) wait it out, 2) let her lay on eggs, or 3) buy some chicks and give them to her.
The natural thing is to let her lay on eggs, and we are trying to be as natural as possible: nature does know best. However, she keeps moving boxes after a few days and by then the eggs are bad. Is this natural? Perhaps it is.
One thing I’ve learned from working on a farm is that the best method is the natural method; there are really no exceptions for this: nature really does know best. But what’s in it for nature when a hen keeps moving?
The question, I think, is wrong headed: nature has not motivated goal, no purpose. When I go into the hen house and my broody hen has moved it is me that wonders, not her. Nature, like farming, is messy and running blind. As farmers we really just hang on for the ride and try to find sunny spots to plant things in; we try to give our animals the best lives we can.
We fail much of the time, but much off the time we try to be farmers rather than caretakers.
My broody hen lays in her box because that’s what her body is telling her to do. Maybe if we listened to nature a bit more we would stop asking such stupid questions too?