Broody Behavior?

MikyPiky

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Feb 2, 2021
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My 30 week old EE pullet, Florence, has been showing some odd behavior and I'm not sure if it's a sign she will be broody in the future, or it's nothing at all.

Ever since she started laying at 20 weeks old, every once in a while she will sit on all the eggs (throughout the day I put the eggs into a nesting box only Florence uses, and only because she wants to sit on the eggs) when she goes to lay her egg. I've seen her gently roll the eggs underneath her with her beak. She only sits on them till she's done laying.

One interesting thing is that my 5 other EEs all hate it when I even approach them when laying. They hiss and squawk at me, but Florence doesn't care a bit, even when I look under her for eggs. That definitely doesn't sound like a broody hen.

Anyways, tonight when I put the chickens to bed Florence got into the nesting box with all the eggs and sat on all of them. I put her on the perch but she just went back into the nesting box. I really doubt she is broody or anything because she's showing no other signs, and it's winter here, but I'm not sure what is going on or what to do if this continues.

I left her in the box just for tonight until I gather more info. She'd probably just have gone back in anyway.

Has anyone seen this type of behavior? What should I do if it continues?

I have been hoping for a broody, so I would rather encourage it than discourage it.
 

azygous

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Who knows? It's possible she's going broody. Time will tell. I gather you have experience with broody hens so you will recognize the behavior if she does go broody.

I have had young hens luxuriate sitting on a pile of eggs after they laid their own. Some are enraptured by the sensation of multiple eggs under them, and they linger. I've had them in there for a few hours and they finally get off when I reach under them to remove the daily accumulation.

It sounds like Florence is one of these who enjoys a pile of eggs under her, but it very well could develop into broodiness.
 

rosemarythyme

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You'll know if she's broody if she persists in sitting in the nest box overnight and through most of the day.

As far as rolling the eggs under her, that's normal chicken behavior and not a sign of broodiness. Most of my layers tuck fake eggs under themselves when they go to lay.
 

MikyPiky

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Feb 2, 2021
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I gather you have experience with broody hens so you will recognize the behavior if she does go broody.
I've been keeping chickens for a couple of years now and have no experience with broody hens. I have been researching broody behaviour though, so that's how I know she's showing no signs, at least that I can see.

It sounds like Florence is one of these who enjoys a pile of eggs under her, but it very well could develop into broodiness.
That's what I was thinking. I really hope she does become broody. :fl

You'll know if she's broody if she persists in sitting in the nest box overnight and through most of the day.
She was up and about this morning, which I was expecting. She went back and sat on all the eggs again to lay an egg a couple of hours later. She's so sweet. :love

As far as rolling the eggs under her, that's normal chicken behavior and not a sign of broodiness. Most of my layers tuck fake eggs under themselves when they go to lay.
That makes sense. I was thinking it was probably instinct or something similar.

I doubt she'll continue to sleep in the nesting boxes, but if she does what should be my plan of action?
 

rosemarythyme

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I doubt she'll continue to sleep in the nesting boxes, but if she does what should be my plan of action?

So if she's just sleeping in them at night, you might want to block off the nests just before sunset to prevent her from going in, and then unblock them once it's dark.

If she does end up going broody it's up to you to decide if you wish to hatch or have her raise chicks. If yes, give her fertile eggs after she's sat reliably for a few days, or let her sit for the full duration and then tuck newborn chicks under her.

If you do not want chicks, best to break her for her health and for peace in the flock. The fastest way is with a broody breaker cage.
 

MikyPiky

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Feb 2, 2021
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If she does end up going broody it's up to you to decide if you wish to hatch or have her raise chicks. If yes, give her fertile eggs after she's sat reliably for a few days, or let her sit for the full duration and then tuck newborn chicks under her.
She's been sitting on them for a good 5 hours, which she's never done before. If she really does go broody can she safely raise chicks going into winter? It gets pretty cold here, up to -35, so I feel like this is a bad time to go broody. 😓
 

rosemarythyme

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She's been sitting on them for a good 5 hours, which she's never done before. If she really does go broody can she safely raise chicks going into winter? It gets pretty cold here, up to -35, so I feel like this is a bad time to go broody. 😓
I personally would not raise chicks in the winter, so given your temperatures I'd opt to break her and if she goes broody in spring or summer, let her have babies then. It can be done but obviously temperatures aren't favorable and it's harder on the hen as well as she'll lose some body condition from sitting so long.
 

MikyPiky

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I personally would not raise chicks in the winter, so given your temperatures I'd opt to break her and if she goes broody in spring or summer, let her have babies then. It can be done but obviously temperatures aren't favorable and it's harder on the hen as well as she'll lose some body condition from sitting so long.
Sounds good. I'll look into how to break them from it.
 

aart

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My go-to signs of a broody:
Is she on nest most the day and all night?
When you pull her out of nest and put her on the ground, does she flatten right back out into a fluffy screeching pancake?
Does she walk around making a low cluckcluckcluckcluckcluck(ticking bomb) sound on her way back to the nest?
If so, then she is probably broody and you'll have to decide how to manage it.


I just put one in the broody breaker.
I let a broody hatch one frigid winter, I do not recommend it.

My experience goes about like this: After her setting for 3 days and nights in the nest (or as soon as I know they are broody), I put her in a wire dog crate (24"L x 18"W x 21"H) with smaller wire(1x2) on the bottom but no bedding, set up on a couple of 4x4's right in the coop or run with feed and water.

After 48 hours I let her out of crate very near roosting time(30-60 mins) if she goes to roost great, if she goes to nest put her back in crate for another 48 hours.

Tho not necessary a chunk of 2x4 for a 'roost' was added to crate floor, gives the feet a break from the wire floor and encourages roosting.
1636240515829.png


 

MikyPiky

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Feb 2, 2021
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Well, she's definitely broody. She left the nest for maybe 5-10 minutes, ate and drank, then came back to the nest, making the little clucking noises. I am going to break her from it as soon as I can, but I hope she can hatch a little brood next spring!

I don't have any wire cages. Is there any substitute?
 

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