Broodiness and Breeds

krista74

Songster
5 Years
Jun 4, 2014
1,576
301
158
Victoria, Australia.
Hi all,

I know some breeds have more of a tendency to go broody than others, and I was wondering if what I have is unusual at all.

When I first bought my chickens, I got 4 RIR's (for their eggs) and 2 BO's (with the intention of hatching chicks one day). Don't worry - I got a BO cockerel too - I'm not trying to hatch unfertilised eggs!
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Anyway, one BO had a brief flirtation with the broody bug which only lasted 2 days - she never even got to sit on real eggs. The other BO showed no interest whatsoever in sitting.

The RIR's on the other hand? One went Super-Broody in the last week of Winter, tearing out all the feathers on her belly. She had a disaster of a hatch with only one live chick, but she loves him/her none-the-less.
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Right before she was about to hatch her chick, RIR #2 went Broody on me! She tore out all her feathers too, and refused to get off her nest. I kept turfing her out of it, but apparently broodiness begets broodiness, and she was doing it wether I wanted her to or not. I gave her 10 good eggs, 7 of which she still has, and she is on Day 14.

I was wondering how common it is for RIR's to go broody at all? I was surprised when the first one did, let alone the second!

I'll be running out of eggs at the rate we're going!

I'd be interested to hear your comments on this. Of course, my BO is quietly plucking out her feathers every day as she lays her eggs now. I presume she caught broody off the RIR girl....?!
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Krista
(Off to build more broody coops............)
 

ChickenCanoe

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10 Years
Nov 23, 2010
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Is it the same BO going broody again or a different one?

BOs tend to go broody more than RIRs. I've had BOs that went broody frequently and others that never did.
I agree that broodiness begets broodiness. I usually have 2 at a time. Once I had 11 pullets (Penedesenca) and 9 went broody together in a community nest.

Even breeds that are non-setters can have a broody. I had a black Leghorn hen raise several broods for me.

The only reliable way to break a broody is to prevent her from keeping her underside warm. The easiest and quickest is to put her in an elevated wire bottom cage so that cool air can reach her belly. It doesn't work as well in hot weather.
 

krista74

Songster
5 Years
Jun 4, 2014
1,576
301
158
Victoria, Australia.
Yes, it's the same BO that is broody, but two separate RIR's that went broody. I am quietly keeping a couple of eggs aside for her in the event that she gets serious and sits on the plastic eggs long term. I always make them sit on plastic eggs for 3 days before giving them the real eggs, just to make sure.

The maternal instinct in me thinks it is cruel to try and 'break' the broodiness. If they want babies, who am I to argue? I want to increase my hen numbers by about 4 or 5 anyway (6 hens + 1 rooster = hens with bare backs). Pity that they don't return to laying a bit sooner though.

Krista
 

ChickenCanoe

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...
The maternal instinct in me thinks it is cruel to try and 'break' the broodiness. If they want babies, who am I to argue? ....
Krista
I hear you on that. But if you already have 70 chicks and don't have room for any more, or if you are getting no eggs and they're all broody, something's got to give. So, it largely depends on one's situation.
It's also cruel to let them continue to sit when they're not going to ever hatch eggs, for instance if there are no fertiles available. They sometimes don't quit on their own and waste away
 
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krista74

Songster
5 Years
Jun 4, 2014
1,576
301
158
Victoria, Australia.
Oh yes, I agree 100% on that front.

But in my circumstance I need a few more girls to keep my roo occupied anyway
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And since I do have the space and the resources (both money and fertile eggs) to allow that to happen, then I'm inclined to let them do their thing.

Plus they seem to be so lovely when they go broody. Hens who are otherwise skittish and run from me when I approach, all of a sudden go all lovey and sooky, and willingly take pats from me. So sweet!
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Krista
 

ChickenCanoe

Enabler
Premium Feather Member
10 Years
Nov 23, 2010
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I've had first time setter pullets get it wrong. Over the years, pullet setters have ruined about half or more of the eggs they started with. This year I had a couple that started eggs and after about 10 days, they got off and moved to another nest. I saved some by sticking them in the incubator. When I had the 9 pullets go broody, they were sitting on about 25 eggs, they kept stealing them from one another and ended up hatching a single chick, so they ruined over 20 eggs and then they fought over who was going to mother it. I've had other problems with them breaking eggs.
I now always break first time broodies and usually, if I'm not overwhelmed with chicks and I have enough broody apartments, I let them sit any time they want. I sometimes have to limit the number of eggs under them. I like them each in their own unit so they don't steal eggs from one another.
 
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krista74

Songster
5 Years
Jun 4, 2014
1,576
301
158
Victoria, Australia.
Interesting. All my girls are about 11 months old now, but the BO was only about 6 months when she first tried out the broody thing (and failed).

The RIR with the single chick, and the broody RIR (Currently on Day 16) seem to be doing better though, so maybe my BO really wasn't ready last time.

Hmmm... to give her a go now or not?

I might wait and see what happens with this next hatch, and then reassess from there!

Krista
 

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