brooding - will it pass by itself?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by onychicks, Jun 3, 2016.

  1. onychicks

    onychicks New Egg

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    Jan 28, 2016
    Hi everyone, I'm new to looking after hens. I have three - one ex-battery hen (feather) and two smaller Pekin hens. I've had the little ones for about 3 months and for the last 3 weeks they have been holed up in their nest box refusing to move. I've looked through the threads here and now realise they are brooding. They haven't laid eggs for weeks and either sit on Feathers large white ones or just without eggs. Today I tried to lock them out of their nesting area but they got SO stressed out and anxious, pacing up and down, that I broke and let them back in!
    Will this broodiness eventually pass naturally? Or do I have to do what has been suggested and lock them out or put them in a cage temporarily?
    Thanks :)
     
  2. Pork Pie Ken

    Pork Pie Ken Monkey Business Premium Member

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    I believe, from what i have read that it will indeed pass naturally, but the duration this may take can vary. The longer they are broody, the more condition they lose and the more susceptible to disease / illness they become. I normally break mine if i have no fertile eggs.

    CT
     
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  3. onychicks

    onychicks New Egg

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    Thanks for the reply - do you have any idea how long it will last? I don't have any fertilised eggs to give them and I'm not breeding chickens...I am keeping them just for our family's own egg-eating.
     
  4. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    Welcome to BYC!

    Are they staying on the nest all day and all night?
    That's the key for me too determine f they are in fact broody or something else might be going on.

    If you don't want her to hatch out chicks, best to break her broodiness promptly.
    My experience went like this: After her setting for 3 days and nights in the nest, I put her in a wire dog crate with smaller wire on the bottom but no bedding, set up on a couple of 4x4's right in the coop and I would feed her some crumble a couple times a day.

    I let her out a couple times a day(you don't have to) and she would go out into the run, drop a huge turd, race around running, take a vigorous dust bath then head back to the nest... at which point I put her back in the crate. Each time her outings would lengthen a bit, eating, drinking and scratching more and on the 3rd afternoon she stayed out of the nest and went to roost that evening...event over, back to normal tho she didn't lay for another week or two.
    Water nipple bottle added after pic was taken.
    [​IMG]
     
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  5. Pork Pie Ken

    Pork Pie Ken Monkey Business Premium Member

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    If thats the case, then the sooner you break her broodiness, the sooner she will begin laying again. @aart 's post is very helpful.

    CT
     
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  6. onychicks

    onychicks New Egg

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    Thanks for the advice :) Yes, they are in there all day and night just sitting together on the 'borrowed' eggs of our other hen. I don't have a dog crate or big cage, so maybe I'll just lock them out of the nesting box for a few days and see how that goes. We don't have a rooster - so no chicks can hatch, right?
     
  7. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    Right, no chicks can develop unless a rooster has fertilized a hen.

    Blocking the nest can work, but if you have another bird that needs the nest, that could cause problems.
    And the broodies night find another cozy place to set.

    The wire bottom of a cage raised off the ground is the speediest method IMO.
    Foldable wire dog crates are an excellent tool for a chicken keeper to have on hand.....
    .....can get them cheap at yard sales sometimes.
     
    Last edited: Jun 5, 2016
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