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Age of hen - Page 2

post #11 of 16

I had a pullet go broody in her first year last summer, so I agree with the previous poster, that it's not that unusual.

 

Once a hen goes into broody mode she stops laying eggs and starts incubating them. Ordinarily, birds will make a nest and lay an egg a day or thereabouts, into it until they have an appropriate number. They don't start incubating those eggs until the final one has been laid, so that all the chicks will hatch more or less the same day. This is important because after 48 hours the chicks will need to leave the nest with the mother and learn to feed and drink. If all the eggs have not hatched because some were set earlier than others, the hen will then have the dilemma of abandoning the eggs that haven't hatched or neglecting her chicks. Therefore it is best to wait until you know your hen is committed to brooding before you give her the eggs you want to hatch and why you don't want other eggs finding their way into the nest after that. Each egg needs 21 days to develop to hatching. The clock doesn't start until the hen sits tight day and night to incubate them. Of course hens are a little different to wild birds because they share their nests, so it's important that other hens don't continue to lay in her nest once she has set, or if they do, that you remove those eggs otherwise you will end up with eggs at all different stages of development and this is a recipe for disaster, hence the advice to mark her eggs or lock her in. Broody hens prefer a dark quiet place without disturbance, so covering the nest or locking her in is actually preferable in my opinion. That way, you can also make sure she returns to the right nest each day after you let her out. There are plenty of people who have had broody hens climb onto the wrong nest of eggs whilst they have been away at work and come home to find the half incubated eggs cold.         

post #12 of 16
Tell that to my two sisters. They are modern games, (known for being broody) and less than a year old. This is their first laying season. They went broody within days of each other. I don't have a rooster anymore, so their eggs are not fertile. I have them in a pen together to get them out of the mood. One has already started to lay again. The other is being a bit more stubborn, and is still sounds pretty broody.
post #13 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by Weehopper View Post

Tell that to my two sisters. They are modern games, (known for being broody) and less than a year old. This is their first laying season. They went broody within days of each other. I don't have a rooster anymore, so their eggs are not fertile. I have them in a pen together to get them out of the mood. One has already started to lay again. The other is being a bit more stubborn, and is still sounds pretty broody.

I have little over 40 hens of various breed,  3 of them go broody, they are modern game. Last year two of them was their first year laying and went broody at the same time. I gave them 5 eggs each as I had hatched too many chicks for the year. They turned out to be good mommas. This year one went broody about 3 weeks ago, after sitting in some fake eggs, I gave her two chicks that hatch in the incubator. Her sister is in a nest right now with a dozen eggs. Their mom is about 4 years old so I don't know if she is laying or not but last year she went broody only  once.

post #14 of 16
Thread Starter 

Well yesterday she came right out for free range and that was the end of that. Today, she was in another box and stayed in half the day (even for free range), but came out later on her own. She's still walking around clucking, all puffed up with her wings and her head low. She'll run up to another hen like that and they don't take her seriously. They just stay there. She even does it when I walk up to the run. She's acting like a mom that has babies, so I'm wondering if she's gearing up to sit for good... thoughts?


Edited by chicky1016 - 3/31/16 at 2:58pm
post #15 of 16
That's a pretty good guess. Unless you stop her, she's going to set.
post #16 of 16

This is why it's important to wait until they set tight for a couple of days and nights before you give them the eggs you want to hatch. Some hens are just fickle or it takes very little to unsettle them. Some might take a week before they stick, others act normal one day and then set solid the next, almost like flicking a switch. Having a dark, quiet place for their nest really helps them get into the "zone" when it comes to being broody. Other hens clambering over them and the noise of them singing the egg song is distracting, particularly to a young inexperienced pullet.

 

She might go back to setting or she may have a period of unsettled hormones and demonstrate this broody behaviour and then resume laying. Time will tell. It's similar to when they start laying.... Some get into the swing of it straight away and others take a while to figure things out.  

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