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At what age will my Buff Orpington hens go broody?

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 

We are trying to raise our own Buff Orpington chickens for meat.  We chose this breed because Buff Orpingtons are supposed to go broody, and we wanted mama hens to raise their own baby chicks.  We ordered 50 day-old chicks from Stromberg's hatchery back in September.  We have harvested most of the roosters, and we are now down to 3 roosters and 29 hens.  They are now 5 months and 1 week old.  We are getting about 8 eggs per day from our hens.


MY QUESTION IS: shouldn't my hens be broody by now?  They are laying eggs, but none of them are setting on them.  Are they too young, and do I just need to be more patient?  If so, how much longer before you think I'll get some of the hens to go broody?  Or, because I bought them from a big hatchery, has the broody characteristic been bred out of them?  The whole reason we went with Buff Orpingtons was because they were supposed to go broody.  If this doesn't pan out, then we will likely start over with a new approach with a new breed.  Any input is greatly appreciated.


Thank you, Ted.

post #2 of 5

Hi Ted,


From my experience (not with Buffs) it takes a few months of laying before broodiness begins. I'm sure they will, but they need to mature a little before the broody hormone kicks in. I have an old girl that lays around 5 eggs and then begins her slow progression to broodiness - its an age thing (in most circumstances I'd say).


All the best


post #3 of 5

You probably don't want to hear this, but I have a 2 year old Buff Orpington (Kat) that has never, ever gone broody- not even a hint that she might.  She lays well, gets along well with the rest of the family, and is an all around nice bird to have around, but broody?  Nope.  My Easter Egger Agatha seems to have gotten all the broody hormones, and they aren't particularly known for broodiness.  She's the same age as Kat and has been allowed eggs twice and been put in the broody buster once.  <sigh> She was 8 months old the first time.


There are just no hard and fast rules for broodiness.  Some go broody if the sun comes up, others live their entire lives and never sit on a single egg.  You have the advantage of numbers so I'm sure you'll have a broody or three before long, whereas I only have the one.  But it takes time - your roosters are the same age as your pullets and they might be acting the part but not getting the job done yet.  5 months is pretty early to be hoping for a broody hen.


So relax and enjoy your birds and your fresh eggs.  

post #4 of 5
Thread Starter 

Thank you very much for your feedback.  I'll remain patient, and see if these girls can make the transition to motherhood.  Have a great day.  Ted

post #5 of 5

There's probably no hard and fast rule for orpingtons. I'm sure it depends from bird to bird and from the stock they came from. My last buff went broody at approximately 8 months. Then again about two months later. By the her second round, it was almost impossible to break her broodiness (i didn't have any eggs or chicks at that time).


Unfortunately, I lost her to a predator recently...she was going to brood this spring's chicks for me. Good luck with yours!

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