Advice needed. Should I let her brood? Am I crazy to consider it?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Adri, Oct 14, 2008.

  1. Adri

    Adri Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 29, 2008
    My Buff Catalana pullets just started laying on September 22nd. They are the only breed that has started laying for us so far. They were hatched on April 29th. Since last Thursday, one of them has stopped laying and has started sitting in one particular nest (the most popular one that often has 2 hens laying in it at once). She sits in there and on by one her sisters just climb in next to her and lay, and I find her there with 2 or 3 hot little eggs under her. I haven't put her in a broody hen jail yet, simply because I'm all out of cages.

    I've been kicking her out of the box several times a day, and sending her out into the yard with the other chickens. But she keeps doing it. Tonight when I got home right at sunset, I found her in her regular spot and one of her sisters in another box. I kicked them both out.

    We do want to hatch some eggs next spring, the kids' school has asked for some eggs to hatch in their classroom incubators, we planned to give them some Ameraucana (some will be Brown-red crossed with Silver, so I think that is called an EE) eggs, and I thought we would let our silkie pullet sit on some Polish eggs. DH still has to build his proposed breeding pen (any excuse to expand the barn:rolleyes:), we have a rooster quarantined in one dog crate, a naughty 6 month old puppy with incontinence in the other, and now that the silky pair are in the wire pen in the garage (until DH builds them a pen inside the main coop), we are running out of room for broody hens! And since we are in Canada, that will mean we will need another heat lamp. And did I mention that I'm 6 months pregnant?

    A few of my kids think we should let her hatch a few and it would be kind of fun and the chicken addict in me is tempted by the thought. My sister saw her when she came over for Canadian Thanksgiving and felt really sorry for her and pled her case, that "She just wants to have some babies." Either way, I'm going to need to get her a cage. The question is should it be a broody hen pen or a wire bottom cage suspended off of the floor?
     
  2. d.k

    d.k red-headed stepchild

    * Eep!! Are you SURE that's the question!?! [​IMG]
     
  3. dancingbear

    dancingbear Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Last fall, one of my Australorps went broody very late, we went ahead and let her hatch a clutch, and they did fine. In Canada, you may need to provide a little extra heat for them after the hatch, until they feather out well. If she's determined to brood, it may be better to let her get on with it. But, if you feel you just have too many other things to deal with right now, you could do the wire bottom cage off the floor.

    I currently have one dark Cornish hen segregated in an outdoor pen with feed, water, a lovely roosting pole, and nothing else but bare ground. It's a large pen, about
    10'X10', so she has plenty of room to move around. No nest boxes, nothing get under and make a secure nest. It seems to be working, she's been up on the roosting pole for 2 nights. Tomorrow I'll let her out of solitary and see if she's finished trying to hatch straw.
     
  4. Adri

    Adri Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 29, 2008
    Thanks Jenny,

    I seriously considered letting her hatch for me, but after discussing it with husband, we decided not right now. Her sister started acting broody too, so for the past 2 days I've been locking them out of the coop from 7:30 am to 6 pm. It means that nobody can get to the boxes though. If they are both still trying to brood tomorrow morning when I let them out, I am going to put them in the dog crate in the garage. (The rooster is gone now.) Although it is only 2 & 3 feet, I'll put a roost, feeders and waterers in for them and nothing else! Thanks again for your advice.
     
  5. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD Premium Member

    Dog crate in garage would be best. Wire bottom cage is one technique in breaking her broodiness if you don't want chicks. As long as she has a place to keep the babies warm with her, or she doesn't have too many, winter shouldn't be a problem.
     
  6. dancingbear

    dancingbear Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quick update, mine has given up being broody! I only kept her out there for 3 nights, I think she'd actually come out of brood by the 2nd. I just left her one more day to be sure. She hasn't returned to brooding, so I think we're good.

    Dog crate sounds like good option. I hope yours stops brooding quickly, too.
     
  7. Adri

    Adri Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 29, 2008
    Dancingbear, that's good to hear, and that it didn't take too long at all.

    I did it, I put 2 of them into "broody jail" today. We built the silkies a temporary enclosure out of old doors and a screen, so we cleaned out their pen and moved the bad broodies into it. They have a hockey stick as a roost, feeder, a waterer and a nice cold cement floor! OH WOW were they ever angry though! They spent the first 2 hours squawking away at us. I'm hoping that it is okay that they are together in there. And upon their arrival they both pooped and we were blown away by what a broody hen's poop looks like! WOW. It looked like our 70 lb dog had pooped in the cage. I've told the family to expect them to be in there for 3 - 7 days.

    One more question, how do you know when they are ready to come out?
     
  8. dancingbear

    dancingbear Chillin' With My Peeps

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    When they're done, they'll start acting normal again. They won't be angry, or fluffing up their feathers and charging around. They'll quit being frantic to get out (to return to a nest), and quit the angry growling and broody squawks and return to normal clucking. And perch on the roosting stick at night, instead of huddling somewhere.

    It sounds like the perfect "stop brooding pen." It shouldn't take long. Their body temperature has to drop a little, and then the hormones will shift back to normal.
     
    Last edited: Oct 19, 2008

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