7 month old buff orpington hen broody, in January?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by nbryan, Jan 13, 2014.

  1. nbryan

    nbryan New Egg

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    Dec 14, 2013
    Is it common for hens to start brooding middle of winter? After a little research here it appears one of our 18 buff hens has become broody. They all just started laying in December and share the coop with 2 buff orp roosters and 6 dark cornish hens, same age. This hen bristles and blasts out a withering screech/squawk that gets louder the closer I approach. Has been there a few days and won't move. As our eggs from the rest of the flock are likely fertile, giving her a bunch to incubate would be easy enough, but raising chicks in beginning of February? We just went through a long bitter cold spell and could easily see that again soon even with normal Feb. weather south east Manitoba. There's some heat from a 200w ceramic heat lamp but it gets well below freezing (-10C to -15C if its blistering -40 out) in the coop at night. The birds seem fine and healthy and came through that cold blast looking just fine, laying 12-20 eggs a day from 24 hens.
    I had a regular heat lamp in there (bright red 175W) but it seemed to keep them too busy at night and natural light cycles make sense to me so I got the "dark" ceramic bulb a week ago. The change in lighting seemed to slowly curtail egg production a bit and we went from 23 eggs one day to about 12 a day now. I hope once they settle in to regular light rythms that will pick up again.

    Is it worth taking a chance of her actually hatching out in February? Or should I consider trying other ways to disrupt her broodiness? Suggestions?
     
  2. LRH97

    LRH97 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 29, 2013
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    I just always let my hens try to hatch every time they feel like it. If she's been there a couple of days, it sounds like she's certainly broody (of course it's possible that she may abandon the nest after a week or so, which is common for first-setters, however, I've never had an Orpington who's never finished the job.). I've also had winter hatches. It would be easiest to isolate the broody girl and put a heat lamp on her. It's gotten to about -2 degrees F here and when I have chicks, I put two red bulbs over them and they've been fine. But since you have the hen, maybe try one red lamp and she should do the rest.
     
  3. nbryan

    nbryan New Egg

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    Besides it likely being very cold again, another question I have about hatching eggs from my flock is they have freshly started laying and I have heard eggs from young hens are not as desirable as from more mature hens. I am curious if there is any truth to this.
    Another challenge is isolating the eggs from the dark cornish and having her incubate only buff eggs. They all share 5 nesting boxes (4 now with the broody hen rooted in one - though other buffs jump in anyway and lay beside her!) so distinguishing the buff eggs from the cornish poses a challenge. The cornish were added to the buff flock a month ago and I haven't seen a roo mount one yet so less likely fertile.
    Still chewing on letting her have a go, though. Natural seems best.
     
  4. LRH97

    LRH97 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 29, 2013
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    I've hatched perfectly fine chicks from my pullets that were under a year old. However, they had been laying for a good six months before my first (a Silkie, go figure!) went broody and hatched a clutch. And yes, natural is by far my favorite way to raise babies. [​IMG]
     

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