Broodies Don't Lay Eggs, Right? Then Why Did I Find...

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Barry Natchitoches, Nov 5, 2011.

  1. Barry Natchitoches

    Barry Natchitoches Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 4, 2008
    Broodies don't lay eggs while they are brooding, right?

    I have two broodies right now. Broody #1 is obeying all the "broody rules," you know, things like spending 23 and 1/2 hours on the nest each day and only eating-drinking-&-pooping once a day, spreading herself over the entire nest to cover all eggs, growling the "broody growl" when I gently pet her, and not laying any more eggs than the 10 she already had when I moved her to her own secluded area. Broody #1 is now 17 days into this broody process. I expect baby chicks within the week.

    I THOUGHT Broody#2 was obeying all the "broody rules" as well.

    And, in fact, she has -- best I am aware of -- for the last 10 days.

    I put Brooody #2 in a wire dog pen in a secluded area of one of the henhouses a week ago, so she could have her babies in peace. I already had Broody #1 sitting on 10 eggs, so I only gave Broody #2 two eggs to sit on. My plan has been to chick-nap a few of Broody #1's babies after they hatch, and sneak them to Broody #2 in the middle of the night, so that we could limit the number of babies born and keep it so they are the same age.

    But when I went into the henhouse where Broody #2 has a secluded corner, I found her at the door of her cage clamoring to come out.

    Well, broodies do like to spend their half hour off the nest each day, so I shut the henhouse so that the other birds could not come in to disturb Broody #2. Then I let her out of the broody cage.

    She is NOT acting like she is slow, or in a trance. Last time I checked on her (right before I got on the net to write this, and a full half hour after I let her out), she was digging in the dirt floor, and/or at the main henhouse gate interacting with the hens outside.

    Because her half hour of "allowable" time off the eggs was over, I gently picked her up and put her just inside her cage, less than a foot away from her nest. I figure that if she still wants to be a brood, she'll go sit on the nest. When I left, she was just standing where I planted her, looking at me.

    I guess when I go back outside, I'll find out if she went back to the nest to finish her brood.

    If she is not on the nest when I go back out, I figure that is the "official word" that she wants to call this whole broody thing off. If that is the case, I will return her to her regular flock tonight at lights out.

    But one thing I noticed when I was placing her near her nest -- she had THREE eggs in there, when I only gave her two. There is no way any other hen could have laid that third egg. She is a blue egg laying ameraucana hen, and the henhouse she is temporarily living in is the brown egg laying hen house. There is not a single blue egg layer in there. And that extra egg is definitely blue, and the same size as all the other Ameraucana eggs.

    Dedicated broodies don't lay eggs, right?

    So should I assume that the appearance of this third egg is further confirmation that this little lady wants to call this broody business off?
  2. BasicallyHeather

    BasicallyHeather Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 4, 2011
    Lowellville, Ohio
    I have definitely heard of broodies laying while on the nest. Maybe it's just a personality thing [​IMG]
  3. Tanichca

    Tanichca Sparkle Magnet

    May 6, 2009
    Vail, Arizona
    Maybe she is trying to lay herself a bigger clutch. That can happen... my resident perpetual broody had three eggs one day, four the next... I tossed them all (infertile) and gave her a few from my silkie pen instead.
  4. Barry Natchitoches

    Barry Natchitoches Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 4, 2008

    It was about 26 minutes ago when I placed Broody #2 at the door of her big dog sized brooding cage, just barely on the inside of the cage, with the door left wide open, and the other birds locked out of the larger henhouse where her brooding cage lies.

    I did it this way, and then left her alone, so she could decide for herself what she wanted to do.

    As soon as I wrote the message above, I went back out to check on her.

    She is now sitting in her nest, on top of those three eggs. Her cage door was open as I left it, and there were no other birds hanging around to run her into that cage. She made her choice, and at least for the moment, it seems to be to sit on that nest some more.

    But I'm still left with wondering how she would lay another egg, if she's truly broody?

    Anybody have some insights to offer on the strange behavior of this little lady?

    BTW, she is a buff ameraucana that I got from John Blehm back in April of this year. She and her gang have been laying eggs for about 8 to 10 weeks now, so she is a bit young to be a mother yet.
  5. teach1rusl

    teach1rusl Love My Chickens

    I've only had broodies lay for the first few days of three is the max. The dramatically decreased food/nutrient intake is what I figured caused broodies to stop laying. If she's still laying at day 10, I'd be surprised if she lasts a full broody cycle. Now my silkies will climb into the same nest as the broody to contribute eggs (I've caught them doing this, plus I know each of my girls' eggs). But since your girl was alone, this can't be your case....
  6. Barry Natchitoches

    Barry Natchitoches Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 4, 2008
    Quote:I wrote post #4 before I read #2 and #3.

    So this isn't all that unusual?

    If she is trying to lay a larger clutch, I hate to tell her this, but I plan on egg-snatching those eggs anyway, and replacing them with a few of Broody #1's babies after they are born.

    But I guess she hasn't gotten that memo yet...
  7. HorseFeatherz NV

    HorseFeatherz NV Eggink Chickens

    I cannot say anything about a laying broody as I have not had that happen.

    But can tell you that each hen is different when broody. I have broodies who will leave the nest for hours before going back - it is like they are having a day at the spa - eating, drinking, sun bathing, dust bath, chat it up with the other birds and then slowly walk back to the nest. I have stopped worrying about these hens, as they seem to hatch and raise a clutch just fine.

    I also have broodies who seem to time themselves - and it is a race. Hop off the nest, poop, eat as fast as possible, get a big drink followed by a couple sips - beat tail back to the nest. These broodies tend to be great moms also.

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