Sunday Scriptures — Broody

by Sandy Kirby Quandt

While researching chickens for a novel I am writing, I came upon some interesting information concerning broodiness.

Broodiness is a hen’s instinct to hatch eggs. A hen that’s thinking of brooding may cluck like a mother hen while she’s getting on or off the nest, and while she’s on the nest will puff out her feathers, growl, yes … growl, and peck your hand if you reach under her for an egg.

Just because a hen is sitting on a nest doesn’t necessarily mean she’s setting on eggs, though. She may still be thinking about the eggs she recently laid, or she may be hiding from some bully that’s higher in the peck order.

So while there are honest to goodness broodies and there are wanna be broodies, there is a test for true broodiness, however. Who knew?

Gently reach beneath the hen and remove any eggs you find. If she runs off in an hysterical snit, she’s not broody. (Just moody!) If she pecks your hand, puffs out her feathers, or growls, then she’s actually setting on her soon-to-be-hatched chicks.

The book I read on the subject said clucking is one sure sign of broodiness. It also said broody hens hiss like snakes when annoyed and disturbed. Pretty much telling anyone near to stay away.

Broodies’ growl is a harsh sound usually accompanied by feather-ruffling that indicates defensiveness and distrust which can also include a peck that means don’t mess with me.

I don’t know about you, but I’ve known my fair share of broody, clucking, huffy-puffy people. And if I’m truly honest, I’ve had my fair share of broody, clucking, huffy-puffy moments as well.

In the Bible there were many broodies, but the first one that comes to my mind is spear-chucking, feathers-ruffled, hissy-fit-throwing King Saul.

Man …

Multiple times the Old Testament book of 1 Samuel mentions Saul got angry, lost his temper, and threw a spear at either David or Jonathan’s head. Not to mention the episode where he had 85 priests killed at one time.

Saul puffed himself up and gave credit to himself even when the great deeds weren’t his accomplishments. He hissed, growled, and pecked at those around him who were a threat.

Seems to me Saul fit both broody categories. He sat on something worth protecting, his dynasty, but by the end of his reign it was all wishful thinking.

There are several techniques which can be used to discourage broody hens. In Saul’s case, God removed the kingdom from his line and gave it to David.

Next time we find ourselves being broody, how about we make sure what we are protecting is worth fighting for and not just a bad case of ruffled feathers?

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 Jonathan asked his father, “Why should David be killed? What wrong has he done?”  Then Saul threw his spear at Jonathan, trying to kill him. So Jonathan knew that his father really wanted to kill David. 1 Samuel 20:32-33 (CEV)

I wish you well.


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