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Broody Hen Thread! - Page 1284

post #12831 of 13521

In reading about it online; it sounds like you take your hen off her nest (um, good luck…) and put her in a wire, cage off the ground so she can't bed down or nest and gets air flow under her.  After a few days you're supposed to let her out, but if she goes straight back to her nest, you toss her back in the cell…I mean "broody buster." I know they're "just chickens" but that seems emotionally stressful and very un-natural.   She's got great Momma instincts, I don't want to try and reprogram that and go against nature if I can help it.

post #12832 of 13521
Quote:
Originally Posted by StoneHillHens View Post


QUESTION:

Okay, so we here at Stone Hill are new to the chicken game…and loving every second of it!!  Everything has been going swimmingly, however we did recently have a hen (one of our black australorps) go broody.  Now, we don't have a rooster, so she can sit on those eggs until the cows come home and they obviously won't hatch.  I haven't gotten brave enough to try and see how many are under her, as she's made it abundantly clear to leave her be.  

So here's the question; do I have to do anything?  I don't like the sounds of a "broody buster", I don't know where I would get fertile eggs to swap and give her, and I'm not worried about being down a layer.  Can't I just let her run her course? After she gets it out of her system won't she eventually realize on her own they won't hatch and give up the cause?

I prefer to either break them in a broody buster or give them something to hatch. We create an artificial environment by keeping them in coops and not keeping roosters with the flocks....so since we are messing up the normal environment then we are responsible as their keepers to deal with the resulting issues, even if unpleasant for us.
There are a few other broody busting methods folks use other than the cage, but all take time and determination to be effective...the cage method may seem cruel but it is effective and the quick for getting the hen back into the normal coop life.
A hen may act like a terrifying beast when she is broody but even the largest are still only 10 lb critters without teeth. Just put on gloves and do what needs done. Don't just let her sit on eggs, they will eventually rot and explode, causing a stinking mess that will be your problem to clean up. Take out the eggs, remove her from the nest and don't let her back into it.
Hens are able to sit quite well for 3 or 4 weeks, which would be normal hatching range...to allow them to sit for extended periods puts their health at risk...weight loss, dehydration, muscle atrophy and parasitic infestation are just a few of the possible dangers you can risk exposing your hen to if you don't intervene. I know some people opt to not do anything but in my opinion it is more cruel to allow a hen to set for weeks and risk her health than it is to just break her broodiness.
My preference is to find eggs to give her and let her complete the process...or graft day old chicks to her after a couple of weeks....eggs and chicks can be bought through any hatchery and 6 or 8 eggs can be found through almost any farmer who sells 'FARM FRESH EGGS' ... it might take an hour or two of research but fertile eggs can be found within an hours drive of almost anywhere unless you are in a very remote area.
post #12833 of 13521
Awesome! Thank you for the great reply, it's the only time I've heard it articulated as to why busting their broodiness is so necessary.
I will look into finding eggs locally but it might take me a day or so and she's already been sitting three... Will that mess her timing up?
Also, should I go ahead and move her nest into a separate area from the other hens when I try and swap out the eggs?
post #12834 of 13521
Quote:
Originally Posted by fisherlady View Post


I prefer to either break them in a broody buster or give them something to hatch. We create an artificial environment by keeping them in coops and not keeping roosters with the flocks....so since we are messing up the normal environment then we are responsible as their keepers to deal with the resulting issues, even if unpleasant for us.
There are a few other broody busting methods folks use other than the cage, but all take time and determination to be effective...the cage method may seem cruel but it is effective and the quick for getting the hen back into the normal coop life.
A hen may act like a terrifying beast when she is broody but even the largest are still only 10 lb critters without teeth. Just put on gloves and do what needs done. Don't just let her sit on eggs, they will eventually rot and explode, causing a stinking mess that will be your problem to clean up. Take out the eggs, remove her from the nest and don't let her back into it.
Hens are able to sit quite well for 3 or 4 weeks, which would be normal hatching range...to allow them to sit for extended periods puts their health at risk...weight loss, dehydration, muscle atrophy and parasitic infestation are just a few of the possible dangers you can risk exposing your hen to if you don't intervene. I know some people opt to not do anything but in my opinion it is more cruel to allow a hen to set for weeks and risk her health than it is to just break her broodiness.
My preference is to find eggs to give her and let her complete the process...or graft day old chicks to her after a couple of weeks....eggs and chicks can be bought through any hatchery and 6 or 8 eggs can be found through almost any farmer who sells 'FARM FRESH EGGS' ... it might take an hour or two of research but fertile eggs can be found within an hours drive of almost anywhere unless you are in a very remote area.

Ask someone at a local "farmers' market" if their eggs are fertile.  If they say yes, ask to buy a dozen un-refrigerated eggs.  You aren't in it for the chicks, so just give her a couple and eat the rest.

 

In order not to "break" broodies, this year I have 5 hens (of my 25 or so) raising chicks.  I used my own eggs, but now I have 16 chicks that I need to rehome.  I'm out of room for new hens.  The cockerels will be good eating birds (English Orpingtons) if I can bring myself to butcher them.  I'm hoping to sell some of the Jubilees this fall in trios or pairs, but that is the problem with letting broodies do what they do.

From the Little House Under the Prairie with 1 wonderful husband, 3 rescue dogs, 3 rescue cats, Way too many chickens including some lovely English Orpingtons, Breda Fowl, and true Araucana.
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From the Little House Under the Prairie with 1 wonderful husband, 3 rescue dogs, 3 rescue cats, Way too many chickens including some lovely English Orpingtons, Breda Fowl, and true Araucana.
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post #12835 of 13521
Quote:
Originally Posted by StoneHillHens View Post

Awesome! Thank you for the great reply, it's the only time I've heard it articulated as to why busting their broodiness is so necessary.
I will look into finding eggs locally but it might take me a day or so and she's already been sitting three... Will that mess her timing up?
Also, should I go ahead and move her nest into a separate area from the other hens when I try and swap out the eggs?

The hen should be fine to brood for 4 weeks without any concerns or even up to 6 if special attention is paid to protect her health.
Moving the hen depends on her ability to protect her nest and the attitude of the flock mates. Some of my hens do great when just left in the coop for their brood, others are more timid and I do move them to isolated areas before giving them eggs.
At a minimum you will want to block off her nest from the others the last few days of incubation to give the chicks the best chance of undisturbed hatching.
A simple chicken wire cage can be used to block off a nesting area, but it will need a smaller mesh wire to protect chicks since many can fit through standard chicken wire.

I usually move a hen with new chicks to a private area for at least a few days before letting them back into the flock coop in a floor box...but I prefer the hen raise the chicks in a flock environment and over the years I have developed a very broody oriented and chick friendly flock, every group of birds is different so careful supervision and observation is needed to make sure there are no problem flock members who might harm the new additions.

Some people separate the broody and chicks completely from the flock until the broody weans them and they are then integrated back into the flock as adolescents. I prefer the hen do it and chicks raised in the flock by a broody are regular flock members (though low ranking) when the hen weans them.

If you choose to move the hen for her incubation period I would do it before giving her the good hatching eggs...prepare a private area of your choice, it should be rather quiet and dim, away from major coop traffic if possible and well ventilated and out of direct sunlight through windows or doors...
Deep, soft bedding with a slight bowl shape is good and give her a few 'throw away eggs' in it. Move her at night with minimal light and use a sheet or towel to keep her area dim for the morning after the move. If you can put a moveable pan in her current nest area now when she is out for her daily drink that would make it even easier because you could move her nest pan and all to the new area, allow her to get used to her new area and then remove the pan if needed, or let her brood in it if it is big enough. We use many moveable boxes for egging boxes, when a hen goes broody in one we just pick up box and all and move it if needed.

Mark her eggs with a circle around the middle (we use a black sharpie so it doesn't rub off) and a number. The number allows you to track any questionable egg if you think one is bad on candling...if you aren't sure you can note the number and recheck it a few days later. I usually candle on day 10 to pull clears and day 17 or 18 to pull sloshy eggs or quitters, sometimes I don't bother with a second candling, everyone has their preferences...

The more you plan now, and research and organize for 'what if' scenarios the more relaxed you will feel...the hen does the work but we do the worrying, lol.
post #12836 of 13521
Quote:
Originally Posted by n3kms View Post


Thanks so much. I don't suppose any of your middle Tennessee family has chicks about to hatch?

 

No, not at this time. They've been raising meaties and keeping layers for their own needs and to sell eggs. I'm pretty sure she hasn't been incubating any either by hen or artificial. Sorry.

LofMc

Keeper of 15+ layers, common to specialty types for colorful egg baskets. Brooding Queens: The Queen Mum Silkie and 2 Bantam Cochin handmaids. Preparing to breed my own Olive Eggers! Barnevelder roo with Splash Marans and CL for egg color and color coding :D Former 4H leader, GDB Puppy Raiser, Homeschooler. Current ESL tutor. Proud new grandma. Loving wife to a very tolerant husband.
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Keeper of 15+ layers, common to specialty types for colorful egg baskets. Brooding Queens: The Queen Mum Silkie and 2 Bantam Cochin handmaids. Preparing to breed my own Olive Eggers! Barnevelder roo with Splash Marans and CL for egg color and color coding :D Former 4H leader, GDB Puppy Raiser, Homeschooler. Current ESL tutor. Proud new grandma. Loving wife to a very tolerant husband.
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post #12837 of 13521
I have a very broody hen sitting on 14 eggs for 22 days now. She is from a flock of 4 hens & 1 rooster. I separated the rest of the flock from her in the very beginning. Although it's been 22 days, still no peeping or movement in the eggs. She still does leave the nest a couple times a day but always goes right back to sitting. How much longer should I wait before assuming my eggs won't hatch?
post #12838 of 13521
Quote:
Originally Posted by StoneHillHens View Post


QUESTION:

Okay, so we here at Stone Hill are new to the chicken game…and loving every second of it!!  Everything has been going swimmingly, however we did recently have a hen (one of our black australorps) go broody.  Now, we don't have a rooster, so she can sit on those eggs until the cows come home and they obviously won't hatch.  I haven't gotten brave enough to try and see how many are under her, as she's made it abundantly clear to leave her be.  

So here's the question; do I have to do anything?  I don't like the sounds of a "broody buster", I don't know where I would get fertile eggs to swap and give her, and I'm not worried about being down a layer.  Can't I just let her run her course? After she gets it out of her system won't she eventually realize on her own they won't hatch and give up the cause?
Get up your courage and take the eggs...she will growl and peck and pinch. The secret is not to pull back! Just stuff that hand in under her and get the eggs. If you let her set them, hoping that she will give it up when they don't hatch...all you are likely to get is a stinky hen and mess to clean up...because they will rot in the shell and eventually blow up...take the eggs and keep taking them whenever you check the birds, you check under her. She may get sick of being fussed with and give it up....but don't bet on it. It took me weeks of removing one of my broodys from the nest and putting her out in the run with the others every time I found her in the nest box. I put out some sunflower seeds and scratch for the flock and out she would go. It works...but it takes perseverance! I do have Roos so if I really don't want to mess with a broody...I set her up with some eggs and let her hatch them in one of my broody tractors.
post #12839 of 13521

It just dawned on me that I'm heading into day 16 of brooding. That means hatch day is this sunday/monday I think! Do I need to like plan to work around hatch day on monday? I guess I need to get things ready!

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post #12840 of 13521
Quote:
Originally Posted by StoneHillHens View Post


QUESTION:

Okay, so we here at Stone Hill are new to the chicken game…and loving every second of it!!  Everything has been going swimmingly, however we did recently have a hen (one of our black australorps) go broody.  Now, we don't have a rooster, so she can sit on those eggs until the cows come home and they obviously won't hatch.  I haven't gotten brave enough to try and see how many are under her, as she's made it abundantly clear to leave her be.  

So here's the question; do I have to do anything?  I don't like the sounds of a "broody buster", I don't know where I would get fertile eggs to swap and give her, and I'm not worried about being down a layer.  Can't I just let her run her course? After she gets it out of her system won't she eventually realize on her own they won't hatch and give up the cause?

Well, thanks to the great guidance and advice I received here in BYC, moving Momma went okay!
I just kept telling myself that, despite her theatrics, at the end of the day she is still just a 10 pound chicken "who doesn't have teeth." Haha!
(...however, being the coward that I am, I still wore gloves and a long sleeve shirt.)
I threw some of the girls favorite treats right outside the door so she could see the other hens happily enjoying them.; then I went in quick and authoritative, swooped her up off the nest and plunked her out with the other hens.
She puffed and shrieked, but didn't really try to peck too much.
She was sitting on five eggs. We'll see how long it takes to break the spell...
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