Broody coop!

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by callieriggs, Jul 4, 2016.

  1. callieriggs

    callieriggs Out Of The Brooder

    Nov 3, 2015
    So it looks like I may have 2 broody hens... which wouldn't be a big deal except that right now we only have 2 hens! Oy! Sooooo... if I decide to get them chicks... should I separate them into different coops? Can I get them chicks a week apart from one another? Our wynadotte has been broody for a week already but our polish seems to just be going broody. Can I get them both chicks at the beginning of next week? Also, can a polish that has never laid an egg really go broody and be an okay mom to chicks? She is a year old but hasn't laid any eggs yet. Thanks!
  2. Mrs. K

    Mrs. K Chicken Obsessed

    Nov 12, 2009
    western South Dakota
    Some people separate them, but I don't. I think it causes more problems than it solves.

    The first time this happened to me this time of year, I only had hens. I contacted a few people I knew, who knew other people and finally I found a woman who kept her rooster with her hens, and gave me a dozen fertilized eggs. It is the longest three weeks ever!

    If you can get day old chicks, that is the way to go, but they need to be very freshly hatched, no more than 2 days old. People tend to think that the relationship is all on the broody side, but it has to be a two way street, the hen recognizing these as her chicks, the chicks as the hen is a safe place to be. Old chicks won't make that connection.

    Being as these are first timers, I would not rush, but introduce the chicks very close to the 21 day time. This will allow you to determine if the Polish is truly broody, or just does not know what else to do, because her friend is always in the nest. I have had hens share a broody together, but others not like that idea. Regardless, if you think they are both broody, give them chicks the same day. If one bird does not take them, one bird will take on all of them.

    Just after dark, it helps a bit if you chicks are a little cold, so turn off the heat until they begin to cheep. Go into the coop, and if your broody is ready to peck you, cover her head, with a towel. Place the chicks either under her, or on top of her back, if they are cold, they will instinctively disapear under her to the warm spot. Now the broody, may act a bit uncomfortable, and moving underneath her, will begin to stimulate a different hormone, that causes her to stop being broody, and ready to care for the chicks. She may even peck at the chicks, if they crawl out. This can be tough to watch, but the best thing is to just leave them be to sort it out. Leave the coop, and see what happens in the morning. Her voice will begin to change, and she talks to the chicks.

    The next morning, she will leave that nest, encourage the chicks to come with her, and create a fresh nest on the floor. Just make sure there is clean bedding. Don't worry if the chicks have to jump a bit, they are just down, and will not get hurt. My nests are a couple of feet off the floor. I will place a chick jar of water and feed near her at this point, but generally she does not go far that first day. The next day, after the layers are out, she will bring them out to the run. She retires to coop before the others in the late afternoon. She will defend the chicks from the flock, and they get used to the chicks, maybe a mined you manners peck, but nothing serious.

    At 3-4 weeks, I place a 12 wide board up on the roosts, and she will have them roosting with in a day or two.

    There is nothing more fun that a hen with chicks. I have two right now.

    Sometimes when you brood chicks, sometimes when a hen raises chicks, there are some chicks that fail to thrive and die. So you might lose one, it happens.

    Good luck,

    Mrs K
    Last edited: Jul 4, 2016
  3. callieriggs

    callieriggs Out Of The Brooder

    Nov 3, 2015
    Thank you for your reply. It was so helpful. I think our Polish is just playing at broody because she is lonely so I will hopefully only have to get chicks for the one hen. I was planning on 2. Hopefully they will both make it. We want to keep the flock small in case we get another broody in the future.

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