Broody Breeds

Discussion in 'General breed discussions & FAQ' started by monty590, Nov 2, 2008.

  1. monty590

    monty590 Hatching

    Oct 16, 2008
    Hello everyone,

    My wife bought me a book entitled "Poultry Breeds" by author Carol Ekarius. I've been perusing the various breeds of chickens and trying to decide what breed(s) to buy for my new coop I'm going to build over the winter.

    My question is about Broody breeds. Do I want to choose a chicken breed that makes a good mother or not? It seems like mankind has tried to breed broodiness out of chickens. Why? Wouldn't it be easier to let nature do the hatching and raising instead of going the incubator route?


  2. Cason

    Cason Songster

    You could always get a couple of banty hens to do your hatching for you.. and skip the incubator.
  3. SunAngel

    SunAngel Songster

    May 20, 2008
    Chambersburg, Pa.
    I think nature does take its course no matter what you try to do. I currently have a broody Sex Link, which I was under the impression were bred to be egg laying machines, not mothers. So chickens tend to do whatever they want lol.

    I have noticed that a lot of people on here usually have a couple of the more broody breeds (like Silkies and Game hens) to help them with hatching and then have their laying flock. Some just choose the breed they love, like Australorp and then if none of the hens go broody, they just incubate their eggs. Lots of people love to watch a momma hen with her chicks. Some have chickens just to sell hatching eggs or chicks and its easier to use an incubator to hatch larger quantities.

    I have a coop with a mix of 15 Bantams and I am really hoping they don't all feel the need to go broody on me at the same time or very often. Mostly due to the fact that I don't have a rooster to get fertilized eggs with. Nor do I want that many chicks lol.
  4. henjoy

    henjoy Songster

    Aug 13, 2007
    It depends on what you want. If your hens are mostly for eggs, you don't want them to be too broody. If they go broody frequently, they won't lay many eggs. We have a mixed flock including a few silkies. When I have eggs I want to hatch, I put them under a silkie hen (with several silkies someone is always broody). That works well for us. Two of our silkies incubated and brooded and raised a clutch of runner ducks cooperatively. It is really funny when the babies grow so much bigger than the mamas. So....decide why you want chickens and then choose your breed. Of course, you can use and incubator to hatch your eggs, but a broody is so much easier. Have fun!
  5. BaronRenfrew

    BaronRenfrew Songster

    gidday: got to admit that having broodies is more fun than non-broody birds

    The last breed I kept were dark cornish and 4/10 would go broody in a year (the last bunch of chicks discovered at Halloween a few yeas ago)

    I'd say the ratio was the same for light Brahmas and silver laced wyandottes had years before

    Had Black Rosecomb bantams and 4/5 hens went broody

    have fun

  6. SussexInSeattle

    SussexInSeattle Songster

    Oct 6, 2008
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2008
  7. fowlafoot

    fowlafoot Songster

    Apr 22, 2008
    I think it's sad and wrong when we penalize chickens for being what nature intended chickens to be. SussexInSeattle that broody hen you eliminated from your program was one who probably would have given her life to protect her chicks, it was not her fault that you placed her in an artificial environment where that was not needed.
  8. fowlafoot

    fowlafoot Songster

    Apr 22, 2008
    As a chicken owner you need to understand and provide for the needs of a broody hen if you have one. Hens use the length of sunlight to determine when to lay and when to brood. If you want them to brood out of season you need to use a lighting program to make them think there are roughly 17 hours of sunlight a day. You also need to let them collect eggs in their nest, these can be nonfertile and you can switch in the fertizized ones after broodiness has been established if your using a foster broody. Once eggs have been collected a good broody breed whose had plenty of light will set on the eggs. One broodiness is established the hen will move as little as possible and remain quiet often appearing to be "glaring". This is a stressful time for a hen, she knows instinctively that she is in great danger on the ground and is doing her best to avoid being eaten. They will usually get up once a day to eat drink and take care of business. The last thing they want or need are visitors so expect that you or another hen will get a less than welcoming reception. She does not want new eggs laid on her nest because by two days after hatch she will get up and begin taking chicks to food and water. Any eggs left on the nest at this point should be removed since she will keep sitting on chicks there but will not be on the nest enough to successfully hatch any late laid eggs and the bacteria in the rotting eggs isn't good for anyone. A good broody knows what she is doing and needs little to no human intervention beyond a secure nest box, fresh water and food. The best time to check the nest is when she is out eating and drinking.
    Last edited: Nov 2, 2008
  9. CUDA

    CUDA Songster

    Mar 4, 2008
    A hen that gets nasty when she goes broody is exactly what you want! As far a making a choice, a breed that the broodiness hasn't been bred out of it is the way to go in my opinion. You can always incubate if you want, but you will have the option of letting them hatch their own too if you want. If you really want some good broodies, try some game hens!

    1 person likes this.

  10. fowlafoot

    fowlafoot Songster

    Apr 22, 2008
    Beautiful shot of a broody CUDA... Can't wait until next year when my little Kelso from you looks at me the same way [​IMG]

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