Bad Broody Zelda

Discussion in 'New Member Introductions' started by CCinVT, Jun 9, 2017.

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  1. CCinVT

    CCinVT Songster

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    Hello Chicken people!
    I have used this site as a resource over the years, but am just now posting. I have had a flock for almost 3 years now. At first all hens. Last Summer a fox discovered us, and wiped out all but 3 of my girls. So I decided to buy chicks one last time, and would get a roo. I ended up with 3 roos. I have always had some hens go broody, and so I got more of the same breed. I have Salmon Faverolles, and Gold laced Wyndottes. My top Roo Abraham is a Cochin that got thrown in for free. That brings me to this summer. My first broody Vern was a great momma. She met the fox first hand (they were free ranging while we were home), and we lost a chick. Vern survived, although traumatizing we felt ended positive. So when Zelda went broody I was excited to let her sit on eggs. Vern was our "test try", and we had only given her 3 eggs. With Zelda we increased the number and gave her 5. Her hatch date is next weekend.
    Yesterday morning an egg was kicked from her nest. When Vern kicked out eggs once opened I saw they were not viable. I figured Zelda was doing the same. When I opened the egg there was a chick inside. Then this morning, I go out to the coop, and she has a crushed egg/chick all over her next box! ..... her normal routine has been I let her out in the AM when i'm feeding, she acts crazy, charges everyone, Monster poops, dust baths, and then goes back to the eggs. This morning she didn't seem like she really wanted to go back. I put her in and she did settle onto the eggs. I have to go to work, but am thinking I will just try to make her more private, add some extra bedding to her area to make it softer in case eggs do get knocked around. I will also mention I have been managing Mites all Spring. I use Mint, Neem, extra cleanings (Including hosing out the whole coop), and they have access to a wood ash/sand baby pool dust bath. I have been working on staining, and finishing the wood to make it less bug friendly. :he
    I guess here is my question does this behavior "guarantee" or indicate that she is going to be a bad momma or kill them even if they do hatch? She has been a fierce broody this entire time, and I was planning on having to keep her separate for the sake of the others. Should I just prepare to see more gore in the mornings if I continue to let her sit?? This is her first clutch, but We had such a positive experience with Vern. I guess i'm looking for advice or more experienced insight. I have another favorelle that is starting to go broody, but isn't staying in a box all day yet. I don't think she would just sit on the almost ready to hatch eggs right? I appreciate and thank you in advance. Nothing like seeing baby chick mush before your first cup of coffee. I figured this would be the place to go where people would understand. :hmm PS. if this should be posted in a different area so it gets seen/more input i'm just not sure how to do it yet.
     
    Last edited: Jun 9, 2017
  2. Texas Kiki

    Texas Kiki Egg Pusher

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    Welcome to BYC.
    She may just not be cut out to be a good mom or maybe she will.
    You won't really know til they are hatched.
    I'd just keep a good eye on her.
    Nothing is guaranteed with broody's.
     
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  3. Pork Pie

    Pork Pie Flockwit

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    Hi and welcome to BYC. I agree with KikisGirls - some broodies are great, the minority, not so much. You don't know until you try.
     
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  4. drumstick diva

    drumstick diva Still crazy after all these years.

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    She's throwing out signs of being a bad broody. I wouldn't wait for her to kill more. I'd find another broody or incubate them.
     
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  5. If you can, take her eggs and slip them into an incubator. If she is young, she may not yet understand how the whole thing works. Or, she just may not be a good mama. It's a roll of the dice with pullets.:confused:
     
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  6. CCinVT

    CCinVT Songster

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    Thank you everyone! This is all good! I have been waking up with the sun to let the chooks out a little earlier. So they don't have as much time to hang by the coop door to get out. It all the squashed eggs seemed to be in the morning. Zelda has been in a metal dog crate on the floor. The top of the crate was covered so she didn't get pooped on, but one of the sides were open wire still.
    I covered all sides of the crate, and hung a towel curtain in front of her door. her box is pretty dark now, but she has a couple inches below the curtain where she can see the some day light, and who's coming and going. I gave her dried pine needles, and mint in her bedding. She immediately started fussing and arranging it. I took this as a good sign...Her box smells nice too! We had a chat. She knows if she doesn't want the babies she isn't gonna get to do it again. She is laying Lower, and flatter on the eggs the she has this whole time, and hasn't even moved. This is the most intent she has been. I hadn't thought anything about her going off the next in the mornings because Vern did it right up till the last couple days. Maybe it was too much commotion for Zelda, and she just wanted a little more seclusion? I'm still prepared for it to not work, but there is a silver lining now! No squished babies yesterday or today. We still have 3 eggies! Her hatch date is Friday so hopefully it will be more smooth.
     
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  7. rebrascora

    rebrascora Free Ranging

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    Hi

    I'm pleased to hear things are looking up with Zelda. I think many times that broodies fail or have problems it is because of the circumstances they find themselves in. Communal nest boxes are the problem a lot of the time. Giving broodies a dark secluded nest of their own can make a big difference. I have also seen one of my best broodies abandon her nest with just a few days to go because it was crawling with mites, so that could be another factor in this case. I am a great fan of broody hens and feel that people are often too keen to write them off without looking at the bigger picture and perhaps recognising that their flock management is not helping or perhaps hindering the broody. Zelda's agitation may well be due to mites and that could certainly cause her to kick eggs out. Broody hens provide mites with a 24/7 banquet opportunity. I always dust nests with DE before I set eggs and then usually 3-4 times during the 3 week incubation period, since Frances abandoned her nest that was crawling with them.

    I hope conditions are now right for Zelda to have a successful hatch and prove herself to be a good broody mother.
     
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  8. CCinVT

    CCinVT Songster

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    Thank you for this reply. I agree, and have always tried to take in the whole picture before jumping to a conclusion. I mentioned the mites, because I realize what an issue they can be now that they have made a home in my yard! We were waging the battle when Vern was brooding too. I did the same with routine with the wood ash/ regular cleaning/neeming. I'm thinking Vern just had more patience with my interruptions. I have read all the mixed reviews on DE, and that is why we have been using wood ash. I had been sprinkling her nest when she was getting up every morning. Now that she seems to be more content with her enclosure I have been sprinkling on her (once since she has gotten more privacy), and she seems to be allowing that. Not at all as agitated as she was. If you have feedback on your decision to use DE I would be open to hearing it. It seems like i am Managing them, but as soon as i back off they come back with fury. The next boxes seem to be the worst place with the mites. Their coop is made of wood, and I live in the woods. I have been winning battles, but not the war yet. It has been rainy, all Spring here in VT, and it seems bugs are having an epic year in general. The conditions are good if your a bug! i'm hoping the best for Zelda too. Giving her the chance.
     
  9. Texas Kiki

    Texas Kiki Egg Pusher

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  10. CCinVT

    CCinVT Songster

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    I really appreciate this conversation. As I mentioned from the beginning I am looking for more experienced input. I would have never thought to read that thread for info on DE. I have researched it. I did read the thread, and the links within for info. Here is where i'm at... I agree that I want them gone, and should be doing more than managing them. I seem to be of the same mind set of the anti DE person who was asking the questions in the thread. They stated they were of a "permiculture mindset". I am too, and we practice it around our farm. That being said Permiculture is about balance. My coop is out of balance.
    Using a chemical is Not an option for me. DE is the only thing I haven't tried due to the mixed reviews it gets. I definitely was at infestation state when spring arrived, and I noticed them. I have almost gotten rid of them in the past 3 months then I care to talk about. The glimmers of hope like it seems to be working are what has kept me going this long... Then they come back with revenge! The health, and comfort of all my animals is a top priority for me. I am considering using DE as a last resort Moving forward I would imagine that the methods I have been employing would be good a prevention plan? You mentioned above that you use it on any nest before you set eggs. Do you only use it in limited situations? Do you use it regularly other than that? Wouldn't it be damaging to have it in the coop with just hatched chicks (their lungs, and eyes)? Should i put it in their dust bath, nest boxes, the floor, roosts, everywhere? ie. if i initiate using it asap, and then until mites are gone). I have read that it is used sparingly? In keeping with the original point of my post. I have no doubt they contribute to Zelda's agitation. How could they not? What type of bedding do you use? I had been using wood chips, and straw. I feel like it is part of how the mites got crazy this winter before I noticed. Sorry for a million questions, but I am genuinely open. I want to walk into my coop again, and feel like it's a cozy place to hang out!
     

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