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Induced broodiness

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 

Is it possible that just the appearance of chicks could cause a hen to go broody? Saturday afternoon I introduced my (then) 16 day old chicks to the big girls, in a run-within-the-run. Within probably an hour, one of the hens hunkered down outside the little run, right next to the chicks' bedding area, and parked there all afternoon, right up until bedtime. Same story on Sunday. 

 

I've never had a broody, but my understanding would be that if they go broody they'll skip bedtime and stay put wherever they are - and that it's typically in a nest box. Is this broodiness, or just a mothering instinct, or ??? Has anyone ever experienced "induced broodiness" just from seeing baby chicks? 

post #2 of 5

Cute. Sounds like she wants to brood them. Might as well give it a try. If it works she'l mother them and protect them from others. When a hen goes broody it wont be out in the sun. They'll find a dark secluded place to sit on eggs. Will move eggs there if not already and sit on them. Typically they take a nest as that's where the eggs are laid. Collect eggs from other nests and sit on them.

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Everybody talks about the weather, but nobody does anything about it.

 

-Charles Dudley Warner

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post #3 of 5
Thread Starter 

Interesting you mention that. We just tried putting her into the mini-run to try that very thing. The chicks were very interested in her but she FREAKED OUT about the bunch of mini-things trying to get up in her business. She fluffed out her neck and hackle feathers and pecked one of them on the face twice before we could get her - I thought she took an eye out! That was enough of that so we got her out of there. No word yet on whether she's going back to her "parking space". 

 

Who knows. Maybe she's just watching "chicken t.v." like we do. 

post #4 of 5

The answer to your question is yes. A hen can go broody by being in proximity to chicks, but it doesn't happen in a single day.

 

I know this because I had a hen go broody last summer after being around three baby chicks for six weeks. Su-su is a six-year old GLWyandotte, and she had all the broody symptoms, including the "popping" broody cluck, and the irritable temperament when she adopted the six-week old chicks.

 

I noticed she was parking herself outside the chick pen where the chicks had a safe haven from the rest of the flock. The chicks had small portals so they could come and go from their safe pen, but no adults could get into the pen. When I let Su-su in with the chicks she began nurturing them from that point on.

 

She stuck with them, protecting them, teaching them, and feeding them until they were almost four months old! When they were still small, she would roost with them on either side of her on the perch, letting them hunker under her wings. Then she just lost interest one day. By that time, the chicks were as big as she was.

 

This is Su-su, watching over her "chicks" while they relax on their chick chaise lounge in their safe pen.

 

post #5 of 5

Broodiness is more a hormone thing  though some breeds are known for going broody.  Among the best are Silkies, cochins, Buff orps.  When a hen goes broody she refuses to leave the nest and has to be forcibly put out  2 or 3 times a day to eat,drink and poo.  Usually eggs are involved.  But some broodies will try to hatch rocks, golf  balls or even  plain air. In those cases, it can be possible to slip some fertile eggs under them.

 

I think the sight and sound of baby chicks might get the hormones raging in some broody breeds.  Also many folks will say  one hen goes broody, pretty soon others do as well. This is most common in  broody prone breeds.

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