At what age do hens go broody?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Nestled Chickens, Aug 26, 2010.

  1. Nestled Chickens

    Nestled Chickens Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have a six month old Buff Orpington that seems like she is going broody. We don't know what she has under her because she fluffs her feathers and makes a raptor noise at us. Can hens go broody the first year? And should I leave her alone? This is our first year with chickens.
     
  2. elmo

    elmo Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 23, 2009
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    One of my hens tried to go broody last fall, right after she had begun laying. I discouraged her by lifting her up off the nest and setting her down elsewhere, several times a day. I also collected eggs to make sure she couldn't start building up a clutch. It took a couple of days, but she did give up and I didn't have to go to the more drastic step of separating her from the flock and putting her in a wire cage without nesting materials. This spring I let her and her flock mates each hatch out a clutch of chicks.

    When a hen sits on a nest for extended periods, she's not eating or drinking except for once a day, usually. She'll lose weight, and that's physically stressful. I weighed my hens when they finished brooding and each had lost about 30 percent of their body weight.

    Winter is coming, and that's not the best time to be under weight. If I were you, I'd gently try to discourage this hen from going broody. There's no reason for it, right? You don't have fertile eggs under her, do you?

    The good thing is that she'll probably want to go broody again in the spring, and you have the option of letting her hatch out a clutch then, either of your own fertile eggs or hatching eggs that you get from someone else. It's a truly amazing experience to see a hen hatch out chicks and then take care of them. I highly recommend it!
     
  3. BeardedLadyFarm

    BeardedLadyFarm Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 31, 2009
    Cobleskill NY
    Any time after laying, they can go broody (though I think I've read of broody pullets on here too...)

    I have a couple lay their first 6 or 7 eggs, and go broody. Another is coming up on her first birthday, and is on her second set of eggs.

    Some brood in spring, others summer, others in the dead of winter.

    Some breeds are more prone to it, but even the non-broody breeds can go broody. I have a broody leghorn and a broody barred rock right now. No wonder my egg production is down!

    The wire bottomed cage is all that has worked for me in breaking them. After a couple of days in "jail" they seem to snap out of it.
     
  4. Nestled Chickens

    Nestled Chickens Chillin' With My Peeps

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    We do have roosters (3 roosters to 28 hens), so there is a possibility that the eggs are fertilized. Why is this a bad time to be broody? We are in the Pacific Northwest, so it doesn't get very cold here. We have enough space and other layers that letting one hen sit around doesn't bother us at all. But since this is our first year and books seem to be too general I figured I would ask the egg-sperts (haha) here [​IMG]
     
  5. BeardedLadyFarm

    BeardedLadyFarm Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 31, 2009
    Cobleskill NY
    It's not a bad time. As long as the chicks are fully feathered by cold weather, you're fine. I had late September chicks last year that were plenty big before winter hit.

    You may want to consider moving her and her eggs to a secure area so the other hens don't lay in her nest, resulting in staggered development. Or you can mark the eggs in there now, and remove any new ones that appear during incubation.

    Enjoy! I love having broodies, and watching them raise their chicks. Best part is, not having chicks in the house!
     
  6. Nestled Chickens

    Nestled Chickens Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Okay, I went out with long sleeves and gloves to move her and check the eggs...and she's a faker! Nothin' there! Oh well, maybe another time:) I carried her out to the water (she seemed a bit too floppy) and stayed in the yard until I saw her eating. I'll check back out there in an hour or so... She has a name now: Broody Judy!
     
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  7. pgpoultry

    pgpoultry Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Wales
    Your hen could still be broody.....broody hens do not lay eggs and do not need to be sitting on anything to be broody. She may creep back to where she was sitting and brood......nothing. Hens are low on logic. they will try to brood infertile eggs, fake eggs or golf balls if they are fully broody.

    if you want chicks and she goes back give her some fertile eggs,

    Sandie
     
  8. midget_farms

    midget_farms Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 15, 2008
    Dunlap Illinois
    I just had a young aracauna go broody - we got some baby ducks & she decided it was time to hatch a few of her own. She is just barely 6 months - Too late in the year to let her hatch any though. If it happens in the spring I'm stuffing 20 eggs under her![​IMG]
     
  9. Nestled Chickens

    Nestled Chickens Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 3, 2010
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    I've been out there three times today and each time she has been sitting on her nest. I'll just keep removing her until she gets the message...
     
  10. Cherokeerainbow

    Cherokeerainbow Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Turner, Maine
    Quote:If she goes again in the spring, its fun to let them hatch the ducks. They make excellent mothers, but have a fit when the lil ducklings run for the puddle!
     

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