Broody Hen....but it's snowing outside!

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by scalaway, Nov 28, 2009.

  1. scalaway

    scalaway Chillin' With My Peeps

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    What do I do??? We've never had a broody hen-- I'm assuming ours is, she won't leave the nest box and "growls" every time we come near her in the coop. Problem is, it's winter here-- it even snowed yesterday [​IMG]. I'd love her to be able to be a momma, it's just bad timing.. should we just leave her be, or should we intervene? I'm hoping she'll go broody come spring, I'd love to hatch some of our eggs with her [​IMG]!! Will she go broody again, or if we make her stop, are we done? I appreciate the advice [​IMG]!
     
  2. shaggy

    shaggy Chillin' With My Peeps

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    there is nothing wrong with letting her hatch in the winter --- momma will keep the babies warm
     
  3. lauralou

    lauralou Chillin' With My Peeps

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    If you decide to break her of her broodiness, you won't be breaking her of it forever. I have to break hens from being broody quite often, and not to worry, they will be broody again in no time. Some do go broody more often than others, some are harder to break than others, they are all different.

    If you choose to break her, the best way that I have found is to confine her in a wire bottomed cage with food and water and no nesting materials whatsoever. It shouldn't be too dark in there during the day. It will take between 3 days and a week to break her. You'll know the broodiness has passed when she stops puffing up and puck-puck-pucking at you when you walk by.

    If you don't have a cage of any sort, you can try some other means, such as putting her off the nest repeatedly, closing her chosen nest box off, moving her to a different pen, putting her on the roost at night. These things may work if she isn't terribly determined. They never worked very well for me, so I built broody jails. It was becoming a real hassle with all of the broody hens that I have. Something had to give...

    Personally, I would wait for spring to let her brood if it were me. But it isn't. [​IMG] She may do fine with babies, depending on your setup. Most broody hens are truly amazing mothers.
     
  4. scalaway

    scalaway Chillin' With My Peeps

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    The problem I have with her being broody now is that she's in the "community coop" -- I don't worry about her so much as I do the others doing something to her babies-- we'd need to find her a new place to do her thing --we'd planned on building an addition to our coop for this very reason come this spring [​IMG] -- What happens if you just let her go? She's sitting on marble and ceramic eggs now-- will she eventually quit it on her own? Is it okay to let things go and take their own course? Poor little thing-- she wants to be a momma [​IMG]
     
  5. lauralou

    lauralou Chillin' With My Peeps

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    It's really not healthy for her to just sit and sit and sit. If her "eggs" don't hatch, she will likely continue to sit regardless. Broodiness is hard on a hen's body. They tend to lose a lot of weight because they only eat once a day. Three weeks for hatching chicken eggs is fine. They can take that. I've even had them hatch muscovy eggs, which take 5 weeks. I made sure they got plenty to eat. And they came through it fine. Well, one started an odd early molt, but she survived.

    Seriously, if you aren't planning on giving her hatching eggs, it's better to break her of her broodiness.
     
  6. clarkestep

    clarkestep Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:Mine hatched out babies in the community coop (the only coop we have) just fine. I put a little dog crate in there and the babies stayed with her. When they'd get out of the crate (no door) the bigger girls would peck them, but they just ran back to mama. Mama got pecked on the head, too, but after she got up her courage, she lit into the other birds for messing with her babies. I didn't separate them and when the mama finally decided she'd had enough of being a mama, the babies were able to fend for themselves and the big girls were used to them being around. BTW, I had to mark the eggs she was sitting on because other girls would lay in the same box with her. No problem though as I would gather them about twice a day. I hope this helps!
     
  7. scalaway

    scalaway Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I felt the same way...I took her off the nest today and moved all the eggs to different spots---Needless to say, she wasn't happy, but she popped right over to the water and food which was good [​IMG] -She's still all puffed out and clucky, but hopefully she'll get the idea [​IMG]-- poor baby [​IMG]-- She's one of my favorite chickens, such a sweet personality [​IMG]--- I am going to let her out to "free range" with me today for a bit-- maybe that will help -- I hate to cage her up, but if I need to, if other things don't work, then I will -- I'm really excited though, because we've always just hatched with an incubator--we've never had a broody hen-- She's a buff orp-- thus her name "Buffy" -- I've read that they are good mommas [​IMG] -- I'm really hoping she goes broody again this spring-- I'd LOVE to hatch some of the eggs we have right now [​IMG] -- They'd be mutts, --all but our brahmas---but none the less, I'd love to have the experience of having our own hatch with a momma-- I want to watch [​IMG]!! We're working on a "suite" for them annexed on to the regular coop-- Can you move a broody hen to a new housing situation with nesting boxes that are similar etc..? Will they lose their broodiness if you move them? Should you leave them in a coop by themselves? Our "run" will be attached to the bigger run, but there won't be access-- we want the other chickens to still "see" the new ones-- just don't want to take chances with putting little ones with the crew -- Thanks for the advice all, I really appreciate it [​IMG]!
     
  8. scalaway

    scalaway Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 6, 2008
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    Quote:Mine hatched out babies in the community coop (the only coop we have) just fine. I put a little dog crate in there and the babies stayed with her. When they'd get out of the crate (no door) the bigger girls would peck them, but they just ran back to mama. Mama got pecked on the head, too, but after she got up her courage, she lit into the other birds for messing with her babies. I didn't separate them and when the mama finally decided she'd had enough of being a mama, the babies were able to fend for themselves and the big girls were used to them being around. BTW, I had to mark the eggs she was sitting on because other girls would lay in the same box with her. No problem though as I would gather them about twice a day. I hope this helps!

    Did you have a rooster in there too? What about numbers? We've got 28 total, so I want to make sure there's plenty of space--they've got a huge run my hubby made it's nice and even has a little creek running through the middle of it [​IMG]--I just wonder if we had her in her own little space-- that was connected, but protected you know? -- But if moving a broody makes her "stop" being broody, maybe I could let her hatch there and then move them to their own space once the babies arrive -- just don't want fatalities [​IMG]!! I'm really hoping she'll go broody again this spring time-- pretty fun-- I'm just excited to have a broody hen--we've never had one [​IMG]! Yeah [​IMG]!
     
  9. clarkestep

    clarkestep Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 20, 2008
    N Metro Atlanta
    Quote:Mine hatched out babies in the community coop (the only coop we have) just fine. I put a little dog crate in there and the babies stayed with her. When they'd get out of the crate (no door) the bigger girls would peck them, but they just ran back to mama. Mama got pecked on the head, too, but after she got up her courage, she lit into the other birds for messing with her babies. I didn't separate them and when the mama finally decided she'd had enough of being a mama, the babies were able to fend for themselves and the big girls were used to them being around. BTW, I had to mark the eggs she was sitting on because other girls would lay in the same box with her. No problem though as I would gather them about twice a day. I hope this helps!

    Did you have a rooster in there too? What about numbers? We've got 28 total, so I want to make sure there's plenty of space--they've got a huge run my hubby made it's nice and even has a little creek running through the middle of it [​IMG]--I just wonder if we had her in her own little space-- that was connected, but protected you know? -- But if moving a broody makes her "stop" being broody, maybe I could let her hatch there and then move them to their own space once the babies arrive -- just don't want fatalities [​IMG]!! I'm really hoping she'll go broody again this spring time-- pretty fun-- I'm just excited to have a broody hen--we've never had one [​IMG]! Yeah [​IMG]!

    We didn't have a rooster and our flock was only about 8 birds. I asked a friend of mine that does have roosters, and she said they won't mess with the little ones either if the mama is around. I think sometimes they will even help protect them from the other big girls, though I don't have any personal experience with that. With a flock as big as yours, you may just want to have a 'safe' place in the run/coop where the babies can run to if needed with extra food incase they get booted from the feeder/water. I think this would work fine. Like I said, my mama bird wasn't at the top of the pecking order, and once she got the courage to stand up for her babies, they were all fine. She lit into one bird and the others watched the lesson learned. It didn't take long before the big girls just ignored the little ones.
     
  10. scalaway

    scalaway Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 6, 2008
    Ohio
    Good to know [​IMG] -- Thanks! I'm so looking forward to letting her be a momma--I took out all the "fake" eggs today, she still keeps hopping up in the nest--I made her go outside the coop for a bit today-- she's still all puffy and growly, but I think she'll be okay-- I know she's eating which is a good thing [​IMG] - -I love her to death, one of my favorite hens by far-- so excited that she's got those instincts [​IMG]!! Yeah [​IMG]!! Now I can't wait until spring [​IMG]!!
     

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