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Broody Hen behaviour

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by krista74, Oct 22, 2014.

  1. krista74

    krista74 Songster

    Jun 4, 2014
    Victoria, Australia.
    I have had 2 broody hens hatch eggs recently (my first ever chicks) and a third broody is at the end of Day 19. I spend a lot of time checking, observing and noting my flock's behaviour and am interested to know if what goes on with my broodys is the same as with everyone else's?

    Up to about Day 18, all seems normal. Well, normal for a broody that is! Stuck like glue to the nest, getting up once a day (or even less) to eat, drink and poop, but otherwise very quiet. Very fluffy, very 'flat as a pancake', very sooky and whiney.

    From Day 19 though the broody hens seem to change. I've noticed the following differences:-

    * Refusal to get off the nest for ANYTHING including food and water
    * Very nervy and jumpy
    * Start making very low 'cluck, cluck, cluck' sounds constantly
    * Making a strange sound that sounds like a beak snapping shut quietly, over and over again
    * Poking around underneath themselves more than usual (and sitting with their head between their legs!)
    * Easily upset by the sounds of other chicks peeping in distress (for example, if one got separated from it's Momma)
    * A fascination with watching the other chicks (to the point of leaning over to see more of them)

    Are these 'normal' behaviours for a broody hen at Day 19? And have you noticed any other changes in behaviour in a broody hen? I think the whole process is fascinating.


  2. mtngirl35

    mtngirl35 Songster

    Dec 10, 2013
    My hen went broody in June. It was my first ever broody. She would get up 2 or 3 times a day for about a half hour until the last few days. Then she stuck to the eggs like glue. I saw a lot of the behavior you did. Except I didn't have any other chicks running around for her to watch. I had to put food and water right next to the nest the last 3 days. And talk about a protective mom! If a hen so much as looked at her new chicks she would squawk and growl and peck. It is a fascinating process and I spent a lot of time just watching. I hope she goes broody again next spring. My other hens don't seem inclined to.

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