3 broodies penned together?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Ducklove334, Jun 15, 2009.

  1. Ducklove334

    Ducklove334 Off to another pond

    Nov 4, 2008
    Virginia
    how would they do???, would they kill each other?

    we have three broody hens, a cochin,who's got about 12ish days on her eggs, a mixed breed hen (momma hen), with 5 eggs she just started sitting about 4-5 days ago, and Juliet the silkie (who LOST all but one of her 5 eggs today due to a freakin egg eater we've yet to catch!)


    SOOOOOO, we've got a spare rabbit hutch thats 4ft x 4ft, and had been thinking about putting all three hens in the hutch together to brood, Juliet is going to get 3 show-girl eggs, and her last egg(if it's developing) will go to Stella the cochin because they started sitiing on the same day.

    how do you think they'd do?, and what about out time to stretch, and eat?

    we're just loosing way too many birds, and not getting enough chicks in return due to failed incubator hatches( we had a silkiie x salmon flav. who was screwed straight out the egg, started having siezures as soon as he zipped:th)

    Stellas eggs would hatch first, then momma hens, and then Juliets, would new mommas tolerate still broody hens in the hutch, that is if Natalie and her baby are still living in the other.

    I'm trying to think of ways to keep the hens ans chicks safe, and eggs as well, especially stella's if she sits the whole time on these eggs, she'll have sat for 6 weeks straight!, she didn't get to raise babies her last set, one chick hatched but died a few hours after [​IMG].

    Ideas,suggestions?
     
  2. lauralou

    lauralou Songster

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    Dec 10, 2007
    Central Virginia
    Tough question.

    I once had 2 broody hens together in the same broody box. (About 2X3 feet) It didn't really work out very well, and I ended up moving one hen. They kept squabbling and stealing eggs back and forth. So I didn't let it go on for long enough to see how they would do once the eggs hatched.

    If it were me, I would split the 4X4 hutch into 2 sections that could house 2 hens. 2X4 pens would be okay for mommas and babies for a while. It might even be possible to split it into 3 sections. But that's just me, and I love to build things and tinker around with tools and scrap lumber...

    I don't know how the hutch is set up, and it might not even be possible to split it at all. You could try to put separate nests in there. Maybe cut doorways into a few cardboard boxes, to keep the nests separate from one another until the eggs hatch.

    Do you have anything else that you could use for a broody house? An old doghouse? An old kitchen cabinet? A dog carrier?

    I totally understand you wanting to keep the chickens safe. I've had some predator problems myself lately. Also have lots of eggs under broody hens. So I know where you're coming from!

    Best of luck!
     
  3. Southernbelle

    Southernbelle Gone Broody

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    Mar 17, 2008
    Virginia
    I've successfully co-managed multiple broodies before. A lot depends on what the hens will tolerate. Some won't want to move and get upset which may set off the others. Especially standard broodies - disruption to their nest often breaks their broodiness. Or they may go back to the wrong nest and leave one of the nests cold. I usually let my broodies brood wherever they want to. I use cat litter buckets as nests, so if I have to move them, I can pick her up nest and all.

    The most sucessful co-parenting broody teams are when their eggs are due at the same time and they raise the babies together. A lot of that sucess depends on the temperment of the hens, but the Silkies I had seemed to like it.

    When their broods are going to be different ages, I forsee 2 problem scenarios:
    A. One broody hatches her chicks - the chicks either choose a different mama or one of the other broodies gets excited about the chicks and adopts some, thereby leaving her nest and probably co-parenting with the first hen. (It's happened to me)
    B. Everyone hatches their own chicks, but gets territorial and defensive of the other hens and their chicks and there's constant fighting. (I've had this happen too)


    Since they're not due at the same time, ideally, you can give them each their own space. I often used dog crates and left the crates in the coop. Good luck!
     
  4. basicliving

    basicliving Keepin' the sunny side up

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    Mar 20, 2008
    Shenandoah Valley, VA
    My cousin has had chickens forever, and she swears her broodies are all so sweet to each other - but that has NOT been the case for me. My broodies are vicious to each other - while they are setting (try to kill each other and steal ALL the eggs) and after the babies hatch (try to kill each other and steal ALL the babies). I have to keep all my broodies separated while they set - and then keep them in separate brooders with the babies until their babies are about 2 weeks old.

    Maybe I just have psycho broodies, but I have to keep mine separated. You could try it and see how it goes - but I suggest keeping a close on them at first, and an even closer eye when one starts hatching hers.
     
  5. ChickenSmitten

    ChickenSmitten Songster

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    Sep 16, 2008
    Madison Wisconsin
    SOooo Basicliving,
    My Broody EE tried to kill [​IMG] my new babies( only 2 hatched and were then 4 day old chicks) and their adopted mama silkie. I had taken the EE broody off her nest in the coop and put her out to poop and eat and stretch. She went killer and I really had to break up a fight and one baby got flung across the run and chased. ( ok though)
    I had not had time to set the EE up to break her broodiness
    (Little silike mama using facitlities to hatch her babies) After the killer girl went berserk I only let mama and chicks out under supervision, or EE closed in coop. Mama and babies wanted out all the time and all the other girls were mellow. Now EE is in the dog crate getting unbroody and silkie and babies are a free part of the flock with a feed/water /escape creeper area. All is well for now

    BUT...
    did your mean broodies stop being killers after their broody spell was over? [​IMG] and you said your 2 week old babies and mamas did ok together. Does that mean my EE can rejoin the flock, including silkie and babies? After her broodiness or do i have to wait until the chicks are 2 weeks old to let her rejoin everybody?

    Thank you for your perspective and thoughts
     
  6. basicliving

    basicliving Keepin' the sunny side up

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    Mar 20, 2008
    Shenandoah Valley, VA
    Well, what I meant was I had 2 broody moms that BOTH had chicks and they tried to kill each other, but...... just this past week I had a broody that was setting on eggs, and 2 broody moms that had chicks, and something similar to your description happened to me.

    I pulled the broody out of the nest to eat and drink, and she immediately attacked a broody mama with her chicks. I put the broody back in her nest, and kept her penned in there. It's a LONG story, but this broody was the worst broody ever and even worse mother. She had 2 babies hatch, but rejected one by pecking the snot out of it constantly. I removed one baby and put it with yet ANOTHER broody mom that had 2 chicks (I will be SO happy when this broodiness is over). The I tried to put her and her one chick in a brooder pen and she freaked out. So long story short, I took both her babies and gave them to the other broody mom. The babies are fine, and now I'm trying to break that stupid broody mom with no babies from being broody. BUT she no longer attacks anyone.

    Now, as far as my other broodies that I keep in brooder pens for two weeks - yes, once I let them out of the brooders with their babies, there are a few tiffs between broody moms, but I sit in the coop for about fifteen minutes and separate them each time and eventually they are ok together.

    I'm glad I'm not the only one with psycho broodies. But I'm sad you are going through it. They will be ok, but you will have to play it by ear and have patience. ALL of my broodies have been psycho broodies to any and all other broodies. The rest of my flock is perfectly fine with them - and with new chicks. It's just those dad-gum broodies!

    Penny
     

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