Broodiness and mothering traits

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Dipsey, Jun 16, 2016.

  1. Dipsey

    Dipsey Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I know some chickens go broody and then a day or so before the eggs hatch the cycle breaks. Other hens seam to be determined to be mothers. My fathers Australorp set on a golfball he used to get the chickens to lay in the boxes for months. Even when he took the balls out she would just go find an egg one of the others laid and set on it. No matter what he tried nothing worked. So we gave her a clutch of golfballs. That was Febuary. 3 weeks ago he just decided to go ahead and give her some real fertile eggs. She hatched one out of the 6 cause the others would crowd her and the eggs slowly got broke. We are new to the whole broody hen thing. I gave her some baby BCM I bought from a breeder up the road and she took them in as her own with no problem. My question is this. Is it possible to breed that trait into a hen? The "I am going to hatch out babies or else I won't lay you any eggs"attitude. Personally I like that trait vs the alternative. I am asking for future reference cause the breeding chicken fever has hit and I wouldn't mind working with the line of BCM's I have right now to get a feel for it. I would rather use broody hens than an incubator. Call me old fashioned hehe
     
  2. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    Going broody is a trait that can be bred into or out of chickens, to a certain extent. Many production breeds like leghorns or Rhode Island Reds have been bred to not go broody since a broody hen is not laying eggs. You can still get a broody RIR or Leghorn, but it’s pretty rare.

    You can also breed broodiness into your flock. Select chickens as breeders that hatched from eggs laid by a hen that goes broody a lot and you will wind up with a flock that the hens often go broody. A rooster does not go broody but he does have the genetics for the hens to go broody so include them in your selection criteria. Select roosters and hens that hatched form those “broody” eggs.

    Just like you can never totally breed broodiness out of your flock like those Leghorns or RIR’s that might occasionally go broody, you can’t breed into a flock where every hen goes broody a lot. But you can get to the point where almost every hen goes broody. That doesn’t take that many generations.

    You are right, some hens are better broodies than others. Those traits are inherited too. That doesn’t mean that every hen that goes broody will be a great mother, there will still be differences, but your odds of getting a great mother increase if the eggs you hatch came from that kind of hens. Many behavioral tendencies are inherited. If you hatch eggs from chickens that behave the way you want them to, after a while you can get a flock where most chickens behave that way.

    I don’t know how many hens you have had stop being broody before they hatch the eggs. I’m sure it can happen but I’ve never seen it as long as I don’t try to move her. This is for hens that have truly kicked over into full broody mode. I have had several hens that show some indications they might be going broody but never really kick into that mode. I’ve had hens that spend a lot of time on the nest, defend the nest if I stick my hand in there, walk around pok pokking and all fluffed up when they are off the nest, all the signs of being broody, but I never give then eggs until they have spent two consecutive nights on the nest. So far that two consecutive nights test has worked for me but someday even that may fail. Each chicken is an individual.
     
  3. Dipsey

    Dipsey Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 11, 2015
    I haven't had my own hens go broody before but my Aunt has on her farm. That is where I have witnessed the hens get off the next a few days before the eggs would hatch. She always has kept mix breeds of chickens. Thank you for the info!!
     

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