A broody-hen Xperiment

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by Dipsy Doodle Doo, Oct 28, 2007.

  1. Hi!
    A few weeks ago , I had no broody hens in the 'big chicken coop' so I thought I'd try an experiment.

    The 'big chicken coop' has mostly Barred Rocks and a few mixed breeds (some Silkie crosses, some Polish crosses, some Cochin crosses, and some Ameraucana crosses) that have been interesting enough to be keepers (just typing it out, gosh, I'd forgotten what a diversity there is in that pen).

    Anyway, the experiment was 'Would a hen go broody this late in the season if presented with a nest-full of eggs'.

    I loaded 2 nest boxes with a dozen BR eggs each on the morning of 10/8.
    By dark, both nests had been claimed by hens and were 'acting' broody.
    Morning of 10/9, after chicken breakfast --- 2 different hens acting broody on the 2 loaded nest boxes.
    Original broody hens sitting on the golf balls I keep in all the nestboxes.
    Evening of 10/9, a total of 5 broody hens suddenly --- 3 on the golf ball that have always been in the nest-boxes, 2 on the 'loaded nest boxes' with a dozen eggs each.
    The interesting thing has been no one hen stayed on a particular nest.
    Didn't seem to matter if it was a nest-box with a couple of golf-balls or one of the nests with the 'real 12 eggs'.
    They all went back into broody-mode.
    And an unusual side-note:
    I set the eggs on the Mon, the 8th.
    For all intents and purposes, Day 21 is not til TOMORROW, and since the hens didn't really sit tight on the eggs til late in the day after I put them in the nest-boxes (I did mention there is a nuclear facility right down the road), they should still be in the shell, lol.

    I've got 24 delightful broody-hen-hatched chicks in the brooder already from the experiment.

    I thought it was interesting , if a bit strange that the chicks hatched on Day 19 and Day 20 under hens!!
    Broodiness' can be induced, even this late in the season (if you have hens that are inclined to be broody).
    Stay Curious!
  2. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude

    Very interesting, Lisa! I'll have to try that when I'm sure I want someone to go broody for me. The thing is, I'm not sure who of my newer girls (about 10 months old or less) would have those tendencies. Of my original ten girls, now going on two years old, only one has ever gone broody and she's done it twice. My younger ones include those three sisters who have Barred Rock mothers but whose father was a Cochin/Silkie cross. I'd think they'd surely go broody at some point. Do you find Ameraucanas do or not?
  3. Hi! None of my Ameraucanas have EVER gone broody.
    Your cross-bred hens have the potential to be broody monsters (good broodies).
    I did have a Barred Rock hen a long time ago go broody. I thought it was an odd situation. I had recently introduced a roo to my all-hen flock.
    He was a temporary addition (he thought the top of the coop was better than in the coop) .

    Within a couple of days after the roo disappeared, one of my older BR hens went broody.

    I thouht there was some significance there, a realization at an instinctual level, that to 'perpetuate', someone HAD to go broody --- no other reason for sudden broodiness in a breed I've never seen it in before or since.

    I think there are so many things chickens do that we just 'don't' and 'can't' comprehend.

    Yes, I spend too much time pondering about chickens.
    They ask so little and give us so much.

  4. purplebaby

    purplebaby Songster

    May 20, 2007
    east long island
    i actually have a broody silkie right now. she managed to hide 5 eggs from me and is sitting on them. how do i know if my eggs are fertile? the "boys" are only about 5 months old and have never crowed. is there a chance they could hatch??? she is 1 and 1/2 yrs old. it is starting to get cold here and i worry if it is good to let her do this so late in yr.

    any help would be great
  5. lurky

    lurky Songster

    Jun 4, 2007
    Western MA
    To get cold??? I just read 20 degrees on my thermometer in MA.....it think we are there [​IMG] Although i would have the same worry, i'm sure the mother hen will keep them warm.
  6. hinkjc

    hinkjc Crowing

    Jan 11, 2007
    Great experiment Lisa. I have found that if you have girls who are waiting to be pushed, they will easily accept the challenge when presented with a nest full of eggs.

    My bantam buff ameraucana are very stubborn broodies. And my white araucana are also. My whites are so broody, they walk around clucking all of the time, whether broody or not. I've already had that whole coop squeezed into nest boxes wanting to brood. That's gets frustrating when you want to hatch some white chicks and no one's producing eggs. And the poor rooster's walk around all alone all day. lol I have 1 or 2 black araucana who go broody, but the rest have never thought about it. And a single duckwing araucana who likes to sit when it appeases her..not when you want her to. lol

  7. marie_martin

    marie_martin Songster

    Feb 21, 2007
    Grenada, MS
    Would that work with a silkie that has yet to lay? I have a couple of pullets that are 7 mo. and have yet to lay. Would they be prone to sit on eggs even if they have never layed? Just curious. I may never get eggs from these girls?

  8. hinkjc

    hinkjc Crowing

    Jan 11, 2007
    It may work, but I don't recommend a pullet brooding prior to her lay cycle. I would let her mature naturally first, whenever possible. I've had silkie girls take 9 months to start laying and others earlier, so it's coming..just seems like forever till they start.

  9. marie_martin

    marie_martin Songster

    Feb 21, 2007
    Grenada, MS
    Thanks Jody. I agree. I will let her do what comes naturally. I was just wondering if it would work. I think the cooler temps will probably postpone them even longer. I will tell you something funny though. A month ago, I had 3 baby chicks that I hatched. Well, I had them outside and the others were out so I was playing with my sweetest silkie pullet and I got the chicks and put them under her wings in my lap. She acted as if she did not mind at all. She was looking at them adn checking them out a bit, but then she just left them under there. Of course I never put her down with them but I honestly don't think she would have done anything to hurt them. I wondered if she would have taken care of them but I did not chance it of course. Just a little experiment of my own. It is amazing how sweet silkies are. I love my faverolle girls but I don't think I would even try that with them. They are a bit more spastic about new things. Anyway, thanks and congrats Dipsy.


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