Broody buff orpington off nest in summer temperatures

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by joesgirljeri, Jun 25, 2019.

  1. joesgirljeri

    joesgirljeri Chirping

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    Our Buff, Lola, has gone broody twice in the past few months. The first time we moved her and it stressed her too much. This time we moved the other chickens to a second enclosure and she has the nest box to herself and after she stayed broody for several days, we gave her 8 fertilized eggs.

    Now she’s off them several times a day. She is on her nest all night, puffed up with her eggs tucked under her, but then doing her own thing in the day. It’s mid-high 80s and a little humid in the day - the coop is quite warm, but the eggs feel the same temperature my hand.

    Day 6 candling showed development in a few of the white eggs (dark shelled were harder to tell).

    Does she know what she’s doing?
     
  2. Lady of McCamley

    Lady of McCamley Crowing

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    Hmmmm....how long is she off the nest? Pretty much all day? or for an hour then goes back to sit for a few hours and then comes off for a second hour to return and sit the rest of the day through the night? Most brooding hens sit pretty much 24x7 getting off for a brief time each day, or even every other day, to poo, eat, drink, dust bathe, then go right back to the nest. Some do manage to make it off for a couple of short breaks per day. On very hot days (usually in the 90's) they will take several longer breaks off the nest.

    If she is sitting mostly at night but not during the day, that is not standard brooding behavior. I call that broody sulking, and many of what were traditional brooding breeds (like a Buff Orpington) that have been purchased through hatcheries have had their genetics tweeked for production so much that it makes for poor brooding instincts. Even breeder lines have been influenced by commercial lines such that some breeds simply sulk like they are brooding without being a good brooder. Then of course it is the individual hen. Even in good brooding lines you will find good brooders and poor brooders.

    Since the weather is warmer, she still may get the job done. Or, you may have set the eggs too soon. Hens will being a pre-brooding egg gathering phase, then their hormones will lock in to where they go into full setting mode.

    All I can suggest with this gal is to give her as little interaction and inteference as possible. You may need to limit her run access so that she stays better focused on the task at hand,
     
    sourland likes this.
  3. joesgirljeri

    joesgirljeri Chirping

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    Today she’s been on and off, so I closed the door to the run and she’s been back on her nest. She had gathered about 12 eggs under her before I set these, she hasn’t laid an egg of her own for two weeks, so she seemed to be doing all the right things. I guess we’ll just keep hoping?
     
  4. Lady of McCamley

    Lady of McCamley Crowing

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    Keep the door closed for a couple of days and see if she'll settle in as long as she has access to food and water close by, but not so close it could tip into the nest.

    That might get her more interested.

    Lofmc
     
  5. joesgirljeri

    joesgirljeri Chirping

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    Oh, this may have made a difference. I shut her in the coop with her food and water, put up a little more shade so it doesn't get too hot and blocked the window where she can see the other chickens. She's been on her nest more all day. Now hopefully she hasn't let the eggs get too cool for too long. :fl
     
    Lady of McCamley likes this.
  6. joesgirljeri

    joesgirljeri Chirping

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    Taking away all her distractions (outside run, sandbox, big window to chicken-watch, iPhone) seems to have worked and she’s settled down to business. Hoping and hoping her eggs survive their rough start.
     
    Lady of McCamley likes this.
  7. Shadrach

    Shadrach Roosterist

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    What exactly does this mean. Have you given her more eggs?
    A dozen eggs is a lot for a hen to cover especially if she's scratched out a nest down to a hard base. I would remove 6 eggs if there are a dozen.
     
  8. janiedoe

    janiedoe Crowing

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    I had 4 broodies this year. All together they hatched out 23 chicks (more than I wanted). They all were on and off the eggs daily while eating, drinking, grazing, & dust bathing in the yard. Temps were in the high 70s & low 80's. Hatch rate was around 80%.
    I would say leave her alone. She needs some activity and definitely needs access to a dust bath occasionally. She and her chicks will be happier and healthier.

    Now for the disclaimer: I am by no means an expert. This is only my 2nd year to let broodies hatch.
    Good luck with your hatch.
     
    Shadrach likes this.
  9. Lady of McCamley

    Lady of McCamley Crowing

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    A Buff Orpington can easily cover 12 eggs. A bantam Cochin is better with 6, if full size eggs.

    Many hens have hatched broods as large as 18 to 20, though I don't recommend that.

    I use my full size hens for larger broods and my bantams for smaller broods. I personally have one hen that I successfully set 8 to 10 eggs, and she always hatches 110%...one more than I've set. She is a very sneaky hen with an excellent wing tuck.

    So full size hens are very capable of a dozen eggs. Now hatching them depends on their technique. And that means sitting on the eggs. Which being distracted and constantly off the nest won't do.

    Lofmc
     
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  10. Lady of McCamley

    Lady of McCamley Crowing

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    I'm so glad she has settled. Candle in a few days to see how the eggs are doing. You should see about half dark egg with large air cell at one end by day 12 to 14. The eggs may be a little slower to hatch, so don't panic if they hatch on day 22.

    I have had decent hatches even in less than ideal situations. (I once found a broody hen mistakenly let out into the yard run and blocked from her nest. I picked her up and put her back on her nest...only to find that evening I had put the WRONG unbroody hen on the nest and left the real brooding hen (an identical sister) out in the run who had settled to nest in a corner after being blocked from her nest. I picked her up and put her on cold eggs hoping for the best. I still got hatches out of those cold eggs...I think about 50% to 60%....amazing for being stone cold at least half a day.

    LofMc
     
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