Broody Game Hen: Help me please!

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by hakatee, Aug 24, 2014.

  1. hakatee

    hakatee Out Of The Brooder

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    Jul 19, 2014
    As I have posted in other forums I am new to the site. Actually, I am new to not having free range chickens. We always had free range for egg production, pest control, and meat. We always had American Game so that they could fly and elude ground predators. We never allowed fighting and would not sell to fighters. After most of our flock was picked off by protected predatory bird(hawks,eagles and owls) we were left with 2 american game hens and one beautiful american game rooster. So I have begun replenishing my stock with dual purpose hens to cross with my Game Roo. I am not interested in showing these birds but want beautiful colors that are good egg and meat producers and go broody. I don't want to use an incubator and the size and color of eggs are not important to me. I just never noticed the brood cycle of our free range hens cause they would "steal" a nest out and show up with "doodles" from time to time. Game Hens are wonderful mothers and I so want to keep this mama in the biz of going broody So now I have a game hen that went broody and I didn't have any eggs set aside. I bought some Black Australorp eggs that were ready to set. She is small and for this size egg could only set 12 eggs. Today I have 8 days left until - voila - "doodles". In addition to wanting to add to my flock I wanted to keep her in the cycle for broodiness. Now I need to know how often an American Game Hen will go broody so I can start watching and setting aside my Australorps/Game cross eggs. I also want to add some Jersey Giants to my flock so she will only set about 10 of those. Can anyone help me with a timetable for when she will go broody after "weening" this batch of chicks. I am in Tennessee and I am actively looking for some Black Jersey Giant Fertilized Eggs or Pullets for sale. Thanks everyone

     
  2. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    Three to four broody cycles per season if first by February. Allow rest to recondition between efforts as being broody is hard on hens.


    Show a picture of these games.
     
    Last edited: Aug 24, 2014
  3. hakatee

    hakatee Out Of The Brooder

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    Jul 19, 2014
    Do you happen to know about how many weeks/months in between cycles so I have some idea when to start saving eggs so that I don't loose the eggs or waste a cycle. I don't want to hurt the chicken but I don't want her to stop getting broody either. I guess what I'm saying is that I am trying to establish a brooding calendar so I can keep my flock sustainable. Once I get the mix I want I want to keep those eggs and have weather hardy chickens. I live on the TN/AL line so we have hot, hot weather during the summer and then cold, cold weather in the winter.

    Thank you for your advice. I will make a note of it. It is a help.
     
  4. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    Approximately 5 weeks for mine. Part of that for for incuibation. For continous duty silkies might be better for your needs. Process is inherently wasteful when hens brooding egggs no their own.
     
  5. hakatee

    hakatee Out Of The Brooder

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    Thank you so much. I am learning. I don't want a huge flock just a sustainable amount and really don't want to incubate. I have always enjoyed the natural process and think the babies need a mama. I am not familiar with the silkie breed. Enlighten me please, pros and cons.
     
  6. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    We used to keep games sustainably for literally generations (human). Pushing hens is not the only concern and your approach may be too hard. I would target only two breeding cycles per hen greater than 2 years of age. This means you will need more hens than current on the game side. You will be doing good to average between six and eight chicks per brood and this includes in that average some hens that can do better than a dozen once in a while. You must not only subtract deathloss, you must also subtract replacements needed to keep hen numbers up in the face of their losses. Alos you need backup roosters, preferably penned up away from free-ranging male. Your females in their first season of lay would be used for table-egg production only. Your emphasis should be on forage management and predator control. Games are better than any other breeds when comes to finding their own eats and avoiding predators but you will have to step in if any biomass is to be produced consistently for your consumption. You already indicated heavy losses due to depredation and having hens rear chicks free-range will expose them to more predators while brooding.

    You need to have several acres for this to work and ideally other animals to cut some of the pasture down into short stuffs chicks can forage. Dogs also needed. Otherwise, suck it up and remove games from picture because you will likely have to resort to confinement of birds and rely heavily on commercial diets.


    The responsibility of researching silkies is yours.
     
  7. hakatee

    hakatee Out Of The Brooder

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    Thank you so much. I am sorry to have mislead you. The part I am new to is keeping chickens in a pen. That is why I am sometimes in a quandary. Our heavy losses were because of predators and I have the flock cooped. I am slowly trying to build a hardy flock for year round production of eggs and meat. I have no interest in continually encouraging or forcing broodiness, one or two sets a year is ok with me. I have one other game hen but she is younger and could go broody anytime. I know that some people try to deter a hen from broodiness to keep her laying. I am not selling my birds or my eggs, so this is not an issue. I do, however, wish to have a small flock to provide hormone and drug free meat and eggs if possible. Thank you again for your advice about the silkies.
     
  8. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    If you pull eggs, then you will likely be able to realize about 120 eggs in the first year per pullet. Exceptional individuals may produce close to 180. That production will be interspersed with periods of broodiness.

    A proper barn would help realize your goals as wood a dog that can free-range with birds. How many acres do you have for this effort?
     
  9. hakatee

    hakatee Out Of The Brooder

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    Thank you everyone for your concern and support. 20 days ago I put some aussie eggs under a broody game and today I have 5-6 chicks. They are textbook aussies and i expect more hatchlings to come in the next 24 hours. I have come to the conclusion that the feed just wasn't working for my hens. I have switched to a super layer 22percent and all are putting on weight and laying and peppy. I will post pics as soon as I can.
     
  10. LavrisChica

    LavrisChica Out Of The Brooder

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    @centrarchid Hello. [​IMG]

    I just popped over here and saw you have game hens, and experience when they go broody. I have a Thai Game hen, Gracie, who since Spring, seems to be broody nonstop. I gave her a shot at being momma; however, she would leave the nest for prolonged periods of time, as well as hop nests (had another broody simultaneously) if another hen was going for her bathroom break. Her eggs were constantly cold, or unattended, etc. So, I had no choice but to remove the eggs. Sigh. She's extremely cranky when she goes broody. I'm having to constantly remove her from the nests, and she tries to attack me. Its become quite the challenge, and its WAY TOO HOT for her to be cooped inside there, too. Any suggestions on working with her on this? I've never had such aggressiveness from her until now. UGH.
    Thanks in advance for any suggestions. [​IMG]
     

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