Originally Posted by JessHeller
With over 1200 posts I don't have the fortitude to gleam through them all looking for info and help so any thing anyone can provide me - a few quick bullet points- would be greatly appreciated.
Looks like our 1 year old Austrolorp, Pam, has just gone broody on us. First hen to do that and I have no experience. She let me pick her up last night from the nesting box and I sat with her on my lap for a little while. Looked like she was in a trance. She just sat there, one big lump of warm feathers (there was an egg she was sitting on). It was until one of the dogs came close that she shook herself and jumped off my lap to go off and peck around with the rest of the girls.
This morning she was back in the box and didn't come out for the morning frenzy feed of meal worms. When I lifted the lid she puffed up and kind of growled at me. I let her be.
So, what DO we do to break this cycle?????
Thanks in advance.
Chances are you've got commercial genetic selection working for you, the kind that selected away from broodiness towards egg production. Once in awhile, though, a bird will get enough genetic imprint to be stubborn about brooding. And you've gotten some good advice on what to do with that from several posters.
How quickly that will work really depends on the hen and how entrenched her genetics are to brood.
Is she a feed store purchased (hatchery quality) Australorp rather than breeder quality?
If she is hatchery quality Australorp, she most likely doesn't have strong brooding instincts, and you *should* be able to break her more easily. As suggested, put her in the cool cage with no bedding, food, water, in an area that gets more daylight but no direct sunshine nor direct cold drafts...ie away from dark corners but not in direct weather.
She'll probably cycle out of it sooner, but it might take a week to 10 days. I do not prefer the cold water bath treatment as you can shock their system.
Sometimes with a commercial breed, you can break them by simply lifting them out of the nest frequently, walking away from the nest to place them alone in the middle of the yard, then hand feeding them their most favorite treat of all. Make sure they've woken up and shook themselves out of the trance. (I actually give a little gentle drop to the ground when I place them down which helps wake them). Repeat this 2 to 3 times a day. I've had them break within a week without confining to a broody buster cage.
My commercial breeds do tend to sulk in and out of broods, which can be frustrating. But they also tend to give up pretty easily.
My brooding breeds (Silkies, bantam Cochins, heritage breeds like my Marans line) won't break until they see a fluffy beak under them or about 5 weeks, whichever comes first. And they are serial brooders, going into broods about every 4 months. Those I put eggs under and hatch chicks; otherwise, I'd sell them as they are always brooding (but that's why I have them...I like to brood naturally).