Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by tonkatuff, May 4, 2009.

  1. tonkatuff

    tonkatuff Songster

    Apr 29, 2008
    Orange County NY
    I have my 1st ever broody hen... she is a young wyandotte and has not left her nest in 4 days. I placed some food & water right in front of her but I have not seen her eat or drink... there is food missing just don't know if she ate it or the others did. What is the longest I can expect her to be "hunkered down?"

  2. bubbazmommy

    bubbazmommy Songster

    Oct 8, 2008
    Albany, ME
    Mine has not gotten off the case in over a week. The only way I know she is eating and drinking is the poop in the area where she is sitting.
  3. jenni2142

    jenni2142 Songster

    Jul 16, 2008
    South Carolina
    I think someone posted that they can and will deplete themselves while they are broody. If I remember right they suggested you remove the hen for a little while everyday for food and exercise if they don't do it for themselves. but normally the hen will take a little break everyday to take care of this, maybe she is doing it when you aren't there.
  4. SproutGirl

    SproutGirl Songster

    Apr 3, 2008
    Missoula, Montana
    I think that broody hens' metabolisms slow down. So, they don't eat and drink as much, and they don't poop as much either. I guess it helps them to stay on the nest for longer periods of time without having to get up and find food or go to the bathroom. Our hen is broody for the 2nd time, and she is exhibiting this sort of behavior. They get skinny, and I think it is somewhat hard on them. I always make her a special porridge out of oats, scratch, an electrolyte/vitamin mix for poultry, and milk that I heat up a little bit. This is breakfast. Momma hens are amazing.

  5. Sunny Side Up

    Sunny Side Up Count your many blessings...

    Mar 12, 2008
    Loxahatchee, Florida
    I personally have never had any of my many many broody hens die of starvation. I provide food & water for them and leave them alone to do their job. They don't expend as much energy setting as they do otherwise, so they don't need as much food/drink/exercise. They may not even poop every day. But when they do, it's The Big One. I would not interfere with their business by removing them from the nest.

    I am always impressed with the expertise these bird-brained hens display to keep their eggs at just the right temperature & humidity. When it's cold, they clamp down tight, making themselves almost flat over their eggs, and hardly ever leave for their breaks. When it's warm, they can sit up higher & take longer breaks. I've even seen a hen standing up over her eggs on a very hot afternoon.

    I imagine there is the rare individual who dies of starvation on her nest, but I've never had that happen with over a dozen or more different broody hens here.

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