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Broody chicken for Mother's Day

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by JulieNKC, May 8, 2011.

  1. JulieNKC

    JulieNKC Overrun With Chickens

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    Sep 25, 2010
    Kansas City
    I think I finally have a broody. One of my BO girls has been in the nest box all day, and whenever I go in there she puffs up and growls at me. [​IMG] I bought BO's and silkies hoping to get a broody so I can hatch some eggs, and I'm hoping she decided she didn't want to be left out on mother's day and now she wants to be a momma. How long should I wait to make sure she is broody before I get eggs to put under her? I don't have a rooster so she is sitting on a couple of golf balls and I think there are a few unfertilized eggs under her, she won't let me get close enough to check.
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: May 8, 2011
  2. schellie69

    schellie69 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 8, 2009
    Kansas
    I watch mine for at least 2-3 days. Then I am sure they are really broody. Good luck. Wear gloves and put the eggs under her at night. I didn't and my hand still hurts from the pecking it got.
     
  3. Barrdwing

    Barrdwing Chillin' With My Peeps

    I usually give mine a couple of days too. I also will move them to the broody cage after the second day, and make sure that they remain broody after being moved--some hens tolerate that better than others. The nice thing about a broody cage is that it makes it impossible for other hens to bully the broody off of her nest.

    As far as protecting your hand when you go to put eggs under her: it depends on her. Most of our broodies are bantams, and so long as they can't grab a fold of skin and twist, they don't do much harm. I put my hand with one egg in, back of the hand up so she doesn't hit the egg by accident, and place the egg just under her feathers. Often when I take my hand out, the hen looks very surprised and then tucks the egg under her belly, looks expectantly at me, and often will not bite me when I approach her with a second egg. A broody hen is afraid that you'll take her eggs; being given her eggs throws her completely for a loop!

    For the bigger hens, or the mean ones, I often will wear a sweatshirt and pull the sleeve down over my hand. That way she grabs the shirt, and not me. You could also cut out part of a yogurt container and make it into a shield for the top of your hand and wrist.
     
  4. rainbowlake mama hen

    rainbowlake mama hen Out Of The Brooder

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    Oct 2, 2010
    My BO seemed to go broody yesterday also but I'm new at this and confused. She was on the nest all evening and night (didn't get on the roost) and this morning didn't get up until almost 10am. There was an egg under her (hers) that she must have laid yesterday afternoon sometime. Not sure if she's broody but I'm getting some eggs to put in the nest in hopes that she'll be broody. She's doing the growly thing when I come near her, especially if she's on the nest. How long do they stay out of the nest when they're broody?
     
  5. schellie69

    schellie69 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 8, 2009
    Kansas
    Quote:They will get off the nest once a day to eat, drink, dust bath, poop. It takes 21 days to hatch the eggs. I have a hen on a nest since the 3rd of May. I am hoping the eggs all hatch. She has 5
     
  6. rainbowlake mama hen

    rainbowlake mama hen Out Of The Brooder

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    Oct 2, 2010
    Quote:They will get off the nest once a day to eat, drink, dust bath, poop. It takes 21 days to hatch the eggs. I have a hen on a nest since the 3rd of May. I am hoping the eggs all hatch. She has 5

    How long do they typically stay off the nest? She's been off for close to 2 hours now. Just wondering if that is typical. I have someone who is going to bring me some eggs tomorrow for her to hatch but I am not totally sure she is broody at this point. I'll keep my eye on her today. Thanks!
     
  7. Barrdwing

    Barrdwing Chillin' With My Peeps

    Two hours seems excessive. Normally they're off the nest for no more than 15 minutes--or at least, that's how ours do it.
     
  8. campergirl

    campergirl New Egg

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    May 9, 2010
    We also have a Buff that went broody last weekend (around the 14th) and I've got a friend who will bring me some fertilized eggs on Tuesday next week (the 24th) - is that too late to try to get her to sit on them? What is the best way to introduce the eggs? And what does a Broody need as far as shelter/food/water/etc if I decide to separate her from the rest of the flock? I have an old large dog crate I was thinking of using, as long as I could put it in our chicken run, but am worried it would get too cold for her to be outside (northern michigan) at night. I could also put her in the "people" part of our coop & just let her out every day to poop & scratch if it's only for a bit...If anyone has any suggestions, I'd be grateful - never done this before and I'm nervous but really would like to try to hatch a few babies! thanks!!
     
  9. Barrdwing

    Barrdwing Chillin' With My Peeps

    For our broody hens, I built a bunch of small cages: 2 foot square for the medium-sized birds, and a measly 18"X18"X36" for the banties. That's big enough for one of our nest boxes at one end, and food and water at the other (I just use a Mason jar chick feeder and waterer). For added privacy, I split a paper feed sack and tie it over the end with the box. Generally I will get a box all ready, then move the hen in there at night. That first night, I either give her eggs I don't care about, or fake eggs. I'll check on her during the day for the next couple of days. If she is consistently sitting tightly, then I give her the eggs I want her to hatch.

    It makes a huge difference to move the hen at night. If you can move her in the nest box that she's chosen, that's ideal, but not always practical; if you place her in the new nest with fake eggs in it, chances are she will settle down on them. Having the new nest box resemble the old one can help too; I have a bunch of nest boxes that I made out of cat litter tubs, and I use those (nearly all of my broodies are banties anyway).

    One thing that's important about moving a broody: if she doesn't feel safe in her new environment, she won't stay on the nest. I had to learn the hard way that even giving the hen a box facing a different direction than the one she had chosen could be enough to make her reject the nest. Also, the broody box needs to be in a place that doesn't get bright light (dim places feel "safe" to the hen). Generally I keep the broody boxes inside the main coop: I put them on the roof of the "nursery" (which is 4 feet tall) and that gives them some privacy from the rest of the flock, while also giving them a little better air flow than they would get on the floor.

    Regarding temperature: hmm, tricky. You could try constructing a double-walled nest box out of cardboard boxes with straw stuffed in between the layers. I did that for pigeons, and it worked well. Make sure the nest box has a roof, so she doesn't lose body heat out the top. And it might be a little challenging to make sure she doesn't get too hot during the day, if the temperature rises above 70 degrees. Putting her in a dog crate will help cut down on drafts, so that's good. You'll want to put shavings or something absorbent and easily removed on the floor of the crate, because when she comes off the nest to poop, it will be super nasty stuff.

    Good luck!
     

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