Broody from the start?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by swatchick, Oct 28, 2011.

  1. swatchick

    swatchick Out Of The Brooder

    Jun 3, 2011
    I have a 21 week old Buff Orphington who started laying three days ago. She has produced one adorable little egg each day, the first one a night drop into the poop hammock, the second and third in the nest box. When I took the second egg from the nest box, she fussed and followed me around, and then kept going back in like she was looking for it. This morning, she was sitting in the nest box with an egg and she spent about two hours in there on it before I finally went in and took it. She stayed in the box and every time I take her out, she goes right back in. One of my New Hampshire Reds laid her first egg yesterday, and she seemed like she couldn't get out of the nest box fast enough to sing about her accomplishment. I know Buff Orphingtons incline toward broodiness, but it never occurred to me that it might start right from the start (if that's even what she is experimenting with). Is that usual? Is she just figuring out this whole egg laying, and what to do next, business?

    And it also occurred to me that with most mammals there is a age range when reproduction is best undertaken -- is there a similar range for chickens, can they be too young or too old for chicks (in terms both of viability of chicks and health of hen)?
  2. HorseFeatherz NV

    HorseFeatherz NV Eggink Chickens

    She could be starting to go broody. My hatchery cochin Blondie went broody in her 23rd week, after laying for less than 10 days (not an egg every day).

    When you collect eggs from under her - what does she do? A broody will often seem to flatten themselves down over the eggs - like they are locking onto the nest. Often they growl or fuss at you, sometimes they might peck at your hand. They also sleep in the nestbox/egg pile (if not in a box).

    For hatching - pullet eggs often produce smaller body sized chicks who tend to be more frail - the "younger" the egg layer, the more fragile the chick produced from said egg.

    A female chicken is a pullet until she completes her first year - then she becomes a hen. A male chicken is a cockerel until he completes his first year - then he becomes a roo.
  3. swatchick

    swatchick Out Of The Brooder

    Jun 3, 2011
    Thank you so much for your reply! She doesn't peck at me when I go to take eggs, but she does act agitated and she makes that growling sort of sound at any other pullet who may express a desire to have a sit down in her favorite nest box. So far she has been satisfied to leave the nest within an hour or so after I take an egg, but I it sounds like I would do well to keep close tabs on her. Thank you very much for the info about age and hatching chicks -- intuitively it seemed like they ought to be older than a few months, but I realized I had never actually heard or read anything about it.
  4. fuzziecreatures

    fuzziecreatures Chillin' With My Peeps

    We had our bantam barnyard mix go broody after only 1 week of laying. She was broody for 3 weeks! She would sit on the other hen's eggs. They would come in the same nest box and lay right next to her and she'd scoop them up under herself. There always seems to be a bantam mix going broody or is broody. Can't wait till March, we'll let them hatch the LF eggs and eat the bantam eggs.
  5. tinydancer87

    tinydancer87 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 5, 2011
    SE Georgia
    My Red Comet hen started laying at 5 months, she only laid for about 2 weeks. Then she started setting on the golf balls in the nest, growling and clucking. At first she would sleep in the nest, and then forage during the day. I waited until she got serious and I gave her some Runner duck eggs, which take 4 weeks to hatch not 3 like chicken eggs. She hatched 7 baby ducks on October 4th, and still calls to them even though they ignore her, lol. She was an excellent mother.

    Sounds like your hen is might by trying to go broody, but she's not too serious about it yet. When she doesn't leave the nest AT ALL, then you'll know [​IMG]

    I love when my hens go broody, I always hurry and order them some eggs that I've been eyeballing, they do a MUCH better job than an incubator!
  6. poseygrace

    poseygrace Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 29, 2011
    Ditto... I had a cochin lay for FOUR DAYS and then go broody. Those cochins are the broodiest things I have ever seen!
  7. wood&feathers

    wood&feathers Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 22, 2009
    E. KY
    If she ever gets serious, you realize it is your duty to spoil her rotten. A friend with more chickens and experience always felt that broodies experience health problems after raising a brood. He lost his two best ones within a year of their brooding, and prefers to incubate eggs artificially.

    I have a cuckoo Marans named Digger who is my prize broody. She is a January baby, and successfully brooded her first clutch at age 8 mos. a year ago. She nested successfully this year too. Every day of her setting I made small bowl of watery mash from layer ration and a little flax seed. She didn't want to eat . But I persisted, smearing a little on her beak so the had to lick it off. She got the idea. This second year she took it all as her due and gobbled treats as they were offered. She still lightly pecks at me when I remove eggs to mark them, but otherwise she remains healthy and vigorous.

    Not meaning to hijack, but is egg eating by broodies considered bad? She doesn't eat eggs the rest of the year. She seems to know which ones won't hatch and they just disappear, with hardly a shell fragment left. She keeps a clean nest.
  8. chickenman17

    chickenman17 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 27, 2010
    Southeast Oklahoma
    Same thing happened to me when my pullets started laying about a week ago. I had one that was more on the wild side than the others and she would find a way out of the coop and do her own thing most of the time. Well the other day I was looking in the hay shed for eggs from my free rangers and what do you know there she was on a nest of ten Banty eggs. I then realized I hadn't seen her in awhile. The Banty eggs had to have been her own as I have no Banty's in my flock. So apparently that conniving little hen had went up there everyday for awhile and laid an egg without me knowing it until she had enough to set on.
  9. swatchick

    swatchick Out Of The Brooder

    Jun 3, 2011
    Thanks for all the input! Today she spent so much time in the favorite nest box (why do they all have to have the SAME favorite?) that two others laid their eggs on the floor [​IMG] She did eventually leave the nest on her own, though, leaving behind another beautiful little egg. It seems at this point like she just has a great setting instinct, but doesn't mean business yet. Hopefully she will get a little older and still feel so inclined -- she's gorgeous and friendly and appears to be a great layer too!

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