I have a partridge cochin hen (Foxy) who started to act broody. She sat on few eggs today all day long in the nesting box, and when I tried to touch her she made sounds like she is about to eat me. In the evening however she went to sleep inside the coop with the rest of the chickens and left the eggs. There is an egg box attached to the coop with access from inside, but for some reason my hens prefer to use the outside egg box for laying their eggs. If I want to let this hen going broody what do I need to do?
First, how can I make sure that the eggs she is seating on are fertile? (I have a rooster that is a little clumsy and not all my hens have fertile eggs)
Do hens have to stay on the eggs all the time?
How long is the brooding period until hatching?
How long they can be off the eggs to eat and do their business without loosing the eggs?
If she starts to be broody on the outside egg box and I move the eggs in the inside box will she still stay on the eggs if I move or touch them?
If I want to save few eggs from the same hen, can I put them in the refrigerator for few days until I have enough for hatching? Will the eggs still be good for hatching, or do I have to keep them at room temperature?
Will a broody chicken remain on the eggs if other chickens are around her? (inside the coop)
Do I need to separate the hen from the rest of the group for the brooding period?
Will a chicken still lay eggs during the brooding period or will she stop?
Do roosters take turn on seating on the eggs?
For the past 2 weeks George has been watching Foxy while she lays her eggs. He usually seats in front of her nesting box until she is done. I noticed sometimes he gets in the nesting box and makes this clutching sound until another young laying hen gets in the box with him and then he leaves the nest. Almost like he is trying to show the hen where to lay her egg. (I got one of this times on video. The Mille Fleur hen in this video give me her first egg next day)
I dont know what to make out of this behavior, I dont know if chickens have that instinct of sharing the broody duty or is just my rooster a very strange rooster. On the other hand this is the same rooster who use to mount my silkie rooster witch use to be his favorite up until three weeks ago, when I sold the silkie. Now his favorite is Foxy and he follows her everywhere like a shadow.
This video is with Foxy, before she went broody, and she use to be very dramatic every time she had to lay an egg.
This is Foxy
This is George watching Foxy
watching Foxy on a different day
....and again watching Foxy....
George inside the nesting box
this is the outside nesting box. On the left side is Foxy. This photo is from today, and that's where she stayed all day.
The nesting box attached to the coop
Edited by arianna - 7/31/11 at 8:38pm