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Broody chicken care?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by chicksducks1, Mar 28, 2017.

  1. chicksducks1

    chicksducks1 Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 11, 2017
    I have so broody newbie questions, this is the first year I have had a rooster, so it's also the first year for me to even think about letting my hens stay broody. However, I have not the slightest clue on how to care for a broody hen. How does everyone else care for her? Will she get food on her own? Does she need to be in a separate area from the rest of the chickens? Once they eggs hatch is mamma and babies okay to stay with the rest of the chickens? Sorry for all the questions this is completely new for me! Thanks!
     
  2. Hillaire

    Hillaire Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hello, The hen will know what to do when it comes to being broody, she will leave the nest for a few minutes a couple times a day to eat, drink and poop. When it comes closer in the past I have a brooder box that I put the hen and clutch in although not necessary the hen can take care of the little ones around the other chickens as well
     
    1 person likes this.
  3. bobbi-j

    bobbi-j Chicken Obsessed

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    There are several ways to manage a broody.
    Some people just leave them in with the flock, let them set, hatch and integrate on their own. For some reason my chickens never got the memo that this is OK. I end up with broken eggs or destroyed nests.
    I (try to) put my broody in a separate part of the coop where she can set and hatch within sight of the flock. There is room to put a feeder and waterer in that space where she can get off the nest, stretch her legs and relieve herself. I let her hatch in that space and integrate when chicks are 1-2 weeks old.
    Some people will remove a broody from the flock entirely and keep her and the chicks separate until the mother is ready to wean them. In my experience this is the hardest integration for the chicks. That's because the mother's hormones have diminished and she is no longer protective of her chicks.

    However you choose to manage a broody, remember that a chicken knows far more about being a chicken than you do. I am very hands off with my broodies. They prefer as little commotion as possible when setting. You don't need to feed them while they're on the nest. Leave them be and they'll get up. Don't put food and water where they can eat from the nest. That encourages pooping on the nest and that will kill the eggs.
     
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2017
  4. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    Ditto Dos^^^^
     
  5. authHeirlooms

    authHeirlooms Just Hatched

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    We put our broody hens in separate quarters in an adjoining fenced area since we don't want the other hens to keep adding eggs to the nest. The broody hens can still see the others through the fence and maintain themselves as part of the flock. We keep food and water so that the broody hen can reach it - they will eat & drink on the nest and we find that helps them maintain their weight & good health. A broody will leave the nest once a day, maybe twice to relieve herself - be careful not to step in it! [​IMG] Once the chicks are hatched she will decide when to leave the nest. We usually reintroduce mom & babies to the flock really quickly. Mom will protect them, as will a good rooster.
     
  6. chicksducks1

    chicksducks1 Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 11, 2017
    Thanks everyone! Do you guys change the feed for the broody and eventually chicks or are they ok with normal food?
     
  7. bobbi-j

    bobbi-j Chicken Obsessed

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    On the MN prairie.
    What are you calling "normal food"? Are you feeding a layer feed, flock grower, chick starter...? A lot of people feed an all flock feed that is not medicated like a chick starter might be, or supplemented with the extra calcium that a layer feed would have.
     
  8. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    I like to feed a flock raiser/grower/finisher 20% protein crumble full time to all ages and genders, as non-layers(chicks, males and molting birds) do not need the extra calcium that is in layer feed and chicks and molters can use the extra protein. Makes life much simpler to store and distribute one type of chow that everyone can eat. I do grind up the crumbles (in the blender) for the chicks for the first week or so.

    The higher protein crumble also offsets the 8% protein scratch grains and other kitchen/garden scraps I like to offer. I adjust the amounts of other feeds to get the protein levels desired with varying situations.

    Calcium should be available at all times for the layers, I use oyster shell mixed with rinsed, dried, crushed chicken egg shells in a separate container.

    Animal protein (a freshly trapped mouse, mealworms, a little cheese - beware the salt content, meat scraps) is provided once in while and during molting and/or if I see any feather eating.
     
  9. chicksducks1

    chicksducks1 Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 11, 2017
    I feed them an all flock since I have a rooster and just supply free choice calcium. I just wasn't sure if the broody would need more protein or anything. Thanks everyone!
     

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