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What do I give my broody hens to eat?

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 

I have some broody hens that don't eat that much. I have the layer pellets down for the others to eat but should feed her something else since that food encourages laying? Can I give her treats, bread, cheese, ??  Should I give her a dose of Nutri-Drench for energy? What is that stuff mainly for? Thanks for any help

My new hobby began Dec. 08 as a rescue: 3 game roosters & 1 game hen (kinda' backwards) but now I'm up to 8 roos, 19 hens & 12 chicks!  I went coo coo for chickens!  (Oh yeah, I also have 1 dog & 2 parrots).
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My new hobby began Dec. 08 as a rescue: 3 game roosters & 1 game hen (kinda' backwards) but now I'm up to 8 roos, 19 hens & 12 chicks!  I went coo coo for chickens!  (Oh yeah, I also have 1 dog & 2 parrots).
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post #2 of 9

Mine didn't eat much, either. They gobbled birdseed and mealworms that I offered, took a quick drink of water, then were back on the nest.

post #3 of 9

You can give that sweet broody most anything off your own plate ~ minus the salt & sugar My hen, I'd feed right out of my hand, just to make sure she would eat! Yes, I am this crazy 4 real! Give your hen some uncooked oatmeal. yogurt is a nice treat, or a low-sodium cottage cheese. Scrambled eggs, the girls love eggs! Canned Sardines,fresh, cooked fish. There is a list, for treats to give our lovely chickens. Check out the FAQ's & frequently asked questions ^ up there, at the top of the forum listings.thumbsup good luck, my chicken-hearted friend!love

~ MARIE~, ZOey's nana in COOLville, Ohio
1 rooster(OEGame/Andalusian mix), 1 B.A./OEG hen,1 Black Jersey Giant hen, 1 Black Astralorp hen; 1 - ~White Plymouth Rock "Klucky". 1~Delaware hen.
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~ MARIE~, ZOey's nana in COOLville, Ohio
1 rooster(OEGame/Andalusian mix), 1 B.A./OEG hen,1 Black Jersey Giant hen, 1 Black Astralorp hen; 1 - ~White Plymouth Rock "Klucky". 1~Delaware hen.
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post #4 of 9

I keep a mixture of scratch and gamebird feed or flockraiser right near their nest. I do make it a point to bring them scraps or cook them an egg with some tuna and cheese.
Some of mine drop a lot of weight while sitting and it worries me.

Wife to a wonderful chicken tolerant husband, mommy to a 4 year old princess and a brand new baby girl, owner of too many dogs, one mean bunny, lots of guineas, and not enough chickens!
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Wife to a wonderful chicken tolerant husband, mommy to a 4 year old princess and a brand new baby girl, owner of too many dogs, one mean bunny, lots of guineas, and not enough chickens!
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post #5 of 9

I give my broody, Chick starter and boiled eggs with greens. smile I also have ACV in her water. smile

post #6 of 9

I don't try to coax my broodies to eat any more than usual, or any more than they want free-choice.  They're really not expending much energy so they don't need as much food.  I think if they are coaxed to eat more they will need to poop more, and need to take more time off the nest to do so.  They seem to know just how to time things, how low to set, how long to take their breaks, how to coordinate this with the ambient temperture.  I don't like to interfere with that too much.

I think it's okay for them to eat layer feed, don't think it will make them lay eggs if their broody clock is turned on.  Sometimes I'll switch them to chick feed half-way through their set, since that's what they'll be eating once the chicks are hatched.

I just check on them at least once daily, make sure their food & water is being touched, make sure a new big broody poop appears every day or so.  They may look pale & quiet, but as long as they still have that Touch Me And I'll Kill You look in their eye I figure they're all right.

One thing to look for is lice or mites.  Dust in or around their nest box with insecticidal powder when they begin, check them maybe once a week to be certain.  Those parasites love to prey on setting hens, and they can really weaken your hen, and make her awfully itchy too!

The ACV in the water is a good touch though.  I have one hen who always has loose stool when she sets and this helps keep her going more solidly.  I don't think it would hurt to hand-feed your setting hen treats if you want, but I don't think it's entirely necessary.

It's not happy people who are thankful, it is thankful people who are happy!
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It's not happy people who are thankful, it is thankful people who are happy!
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post #7 of 9

I think most broodies will do what's best, but some rookies don't. A recent Brahma hen of mine, broody for the first time, touched nothing for 5 days. She became almost stuporose. Only when I lifted her and took her away from the eggs did she drink and excrete. I then repeated this daily and after a further two or three days she took a tiny bit to eat. She ate virtually nothing all through her brooding and sat for a further two or three days after her eggs hatched.
She really only began to move around when her chicks were running everywhere. Thankfully (chicks 11 days old), she is now behaving normally and is eating, drinking, scratching, preening etc.
I think that most hens will instinctively know what to do and eat and should be provided with a good mixed diet,
Sandie

post #8 of 9
Thread Starter 

Awww, thanks to everyone for these nice words of advice and tips! This is such a friendly website!love

My new hobby began Dec. 08 as a rescue: 3 game roosters & 1 game hen (kinda' backwards) but now I'm up to 8 roos, 19 hens & 12 chicks!  I went coo coo for chickens!  (Oh yeah, I also have 1 dog & 2 parrots).
Reply
My new hobby began Dec. 08 as a rescue: 3 game roosters & 1 game hen (kinda' backwards) but now I'm up to 8 roos, 19 hens & 12 chicks!  I went coo coo for chickens!  (Oh yeah, I also have 1 dog & 2 parrots).
Reply
post #9 of 9

I am replying to one of your blog messages regarding 'One thing to look for is lice or mites' (2010) thank you. However, if you plant the herb 'Lemon Balm' (Melissa Officinalis) in your hen run it will keep away the lice and mites. It is a lemon scented herb which grows into a small bush and has gentle soft lime green leaves, and: (a) looks lovely in a vase of water, indoors; (b) tastes soothing in a cup of hot water when picked from the lemon balm plants outside the hen house i.e. from the garden; (c) in the hen run, the hens brush past the plants in the chicken run and the lemon permeates their legs and feathers (my hens dust bath around the plants); and (d) when you are ready to cut the plant back when it gets a bit tired looking after many months, keep the cut branches and tie the branches into bundles and hang them around the inside of the hen house (they will dry off) keeping the drying branches all through the autumn and the winter until you can replace the dried lemon balm with next year's crop of fresh lemon balm. (The dried lemon balm becomes crisp and falls to the floor of the hen house) (When cutting it back in the autumn, leave about 12 inches of bare stalks on the plant and it will regrow next Spring into the same lovely plant.) The plant is very easy to grow from seed or by pulling a piece of established plant, with a small portion of plant root attached, and replant it out. You won't have any problem with lice or mites on the hens/roosters body or in their feathers; and in the hen run, which can sometimes look very bare because the hens pick at everything growing in it, it is the one plant they will not touch and it is so pretty around the inside boarder of the hen run, or planted here and there as a winding path inside the hen run. I hope this is useful. Molly

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