Another broody chicken question

Hja

In the Brooder
Nov 6, 2020
9
16
24
Hello all. I’m hoping for some collective wisdom! Our 10 month old silkie cross started laying in September and by October had started showing some broody behaviours that we could easily handle by removing her from the nest as soon as she laid and then not allowing her to return to the nest. Since then the other two of our big flock of three have started laying...sometimes in the morning, sometimes not till late afternoon; they haven’t quite figured it out yet. It has, however played havoc with our “broody stop“ management of locking up the nest for most of the day and now our broody girl is truly, truly into it. We have tried everything but caging her. Winter in Canada is no time for cold bottoms or bringing indoors for the night and we have an omelet igloo coop which precludes a cage inside. So we decided to just let her sit it out, making sure we take off the nest at least twice a day to eat and drink etc. But I’m pretty sure we are past the 21 days(wasn’t smart enough to actually mark the calendar with the start date of this). Now what? Has anyone successfully allowed their hen to sit out the imaginary incubation. any input appreciated
 

azygous

Enabler
11 Years
Dec 11, 2009
25,409
38,568
1,142
Colorado Rockies
"Sitting" is precisely what perpetuates the broody hormones. I'll tell you how it works so then you can maybe figure out how to stop the hormones without your Silkie freezing.

A hen will lay a certain number of eggs, and if she's got broody genes, which Silkies usually possess in abundance, her broody hormones click in, and she stops laying eggs and will want to sit all day on something, maybe even on a nest. Her body temperature climbs a few degrees, and she loses the feathers along her keel bone so that the heat and humidity from her body can transfer by direct contact to the eggs. This also causes the reciprocal action of reflecting her body heat back to her and this keeps the broody hormones active.

She goes into a vegetative state to conserve calories and is content to keep sitting for as long as it takes to hatch the eggs. The only thing that will interrupt this is to somehow cool down your Silkie's body temp, and no, cooling needs to be gradual. Rapid cooling such as a cold bath won't work. Also, it won't work to slip a bag of frozen peas under her. As long as she's still sitting, her body heat is still being reflected back at her, even though she's on frozen peas.

You need to place her somewhere that she is deprived of a solid surface to reflect back her own body heat. Usually we accomplish this most conveniently by placing the broody in a wire cage with an open mesh bottom so air can circulate under her and cool her body. It takes between 12 and 72 hours for the hormones to dissipate and for her to lose interest in sitting.
 

Hja

In the Brooder
Nov 6, 2020
9
16
24
"Sitting" is precisely what perpetuates the broody hormones. I'll tell you how it works so then you can maybe figure out how to stop the hormones without your Silkie freezing.

A hen will lay a certain number of eggs, and if she's got broody genes, which Silkies usually possess in abundance, her broody hormones click in, and she stops laying eggs and will want to sit all day on something, maybe even on a nest. Her body temperature climbs a few degrees, and she loses the feathers along her keel bone so that the heat and humidity from her body can transfer by direct contact to the eggs. This also causes the reciprocal action of reflecting her body heat back to her and this keeps the broody hormones active.

She goes into a vegetative state to conserve calories and is content to keep sitting for as long as it takes to hatch the eggs. The only thing that will interrupt this is to somehow cool down your Silkie's body temp, and no, cooling needs to be gradual. Rapid cooling such as a cold bath won't work. Also, it won't work to slip a bag of frozen peas under her. As long as she's still sitting, her body heat is still being reflected back at her, even though she's on frozen peas.

You need to place her somewhere that she is deprived of a solid surface to reflect back her own body heat. Usually we accomplish this most conveniently by placing the broody in a wire cage with an open mesh bottom so air can circulate under her and cool her body. It takes between 12 and 72 hours for the hormones to dissipate and for her to lose interest in sitting.
Thanks. I think you have answered the question about natura resolution after 21 days. So in essence; no chicks, no end to the broody behaviour And must therefore intervene. We are having a slightly warmer spell right now to just below freezing at night so a good time to try the cage again, persevering overnight if need be
 

Sprayanimal

Chirping
Mar 22, 2015
24
15
76
Hello all. I’m hoping for some collective wisdom! Our 10 month old silkie cross started laying in September and by October had started showing some broody behaviours that we could easily handle by removing her from the nest as soon as she laid and then not allowing her to return to the nest. Since then the other two of our big flock of three have started laying...sometimes in the morning, sometimes not till late afternoon; they haven’t quite figured it out yet. It has, however played havoc with our “broody stop“ management of locking up the nest for most of the day and now our broody girl is truly, truly into it. We have tried everything but caging her. Winter in Canada is no time for cold bottoms or bringing indoors for the night and we have an omelet igloo coop which precludes a cage inside. So we decided to just let her sit it out, making sure we take off the nest at least twice a day to eat and drink etc. But I’m pretty sure we are past the 21 days(wasn’t smart enough to actually mark the calendar with the start date of this). Now what? Has anyone successfully allowed their hen to sit out the imaginary incubation. any input appreciated
Get her butt off hard ground or the nest. She doesn’t have to be in a cage but needs air flow to her backside. Try making a wire bottom for the nest box make sure its up a little for air flow. This works great for my marans. When its hot outside they go broody nonstop.
 

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