Broody Hen?/Help she left

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by SHELLY, Dec 14, 2007.

  1. SHELLY

    SHELLY Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 7, 2007
    Southwest Missouri
    I think I have a broody hen. I've got a black silkie that has been in the nest box the last two nights when I get home from work. I don't know if she is there all day or not. Last night when I got the eggs from under her, she pecked my hand a couple of times. It didn't hurt.

    Tonight she didn' peck, but she didn't move either. How do you know if she is broody? [​IMG]

    This is my first year with poultry. I have some questions about this.
    1. If I let her set, will she quit laying at some point and just sit? This hen lays almost every day.

    2. In order to get the chicks to hatch within a day or so of each other (so they'll be the same age and so that momma wont leave the unhatched eggs) do I steal her eggs and store them until I have as many as I want to hatch? [​IMG]

    3. Can she get up and eat or drink? Does a hen actually stay on the nest for 21 days? What about when she needs to go to the bathroom? [​IMG] How long could a hen be off the nest and not hurt the eggs?

    I'm sorry if these are stupid questions or if they have been addressed in other posts, I haven't found the answers to these quesions yet.

    12-19-07 My broody silkie left the nest for most of the day. It was such a nice day outside I guess she couldn't resist. I noticed she was not on the nest this morning, another hen was in the box. Elvis (thought she was a roo) was on a roost. I opened up the coop so they could go into the run. I went shopping and was gone about 4 hours. When I came home she was outside. She didn't go in until I put all of the chickens up and closed the door. She got in the nest after that. Should I wait and candle them on Day 7 or are they ruined?
     
    Last edited: Dec 19, 2007
  2. SillyChick

    SillyChick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Dec 15, 2007
    Oh yes, your black silkie is getting broody! [​IMG] It's funny when chickens get broody! Oh, and does the silkie pluff up when you show up? She's intimidating you!

    Sorry but I don't think I can answer no. 1.........I'm a chicken newbie!

    She will leave the nest box for a little while to have a little snack and drink or go poo poo, but only for a short time. She will go back to the eggs. Some broody hens don't even eat at all! You should put some feed and water near her, and maybe some crushed oyster shells or egg shells for calcium.

    Oh and the only questions that are stupid are the ones you don't ask! Do not be afraid to ask questions! You are welcome here!

    Good luck!
     
  3. akcskye

    akcskye Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 11, 2007
    Congrats (I hope) on your broody. I say "I hope" because some don't want theirs broody...but it sounds like you do.

    In answer to your questions:

    1. Yes, your hen will quit laying when she is broody, and will not lay again until the babies are old enough that she no longer has to protect them.

    2. A broody will lay on her eggs as well as keep the babies underneath her. When they're really young, there's no need to be out and about. My pullets hatched from June 15 to June 20, and they didn't explore outside the nest for another week.

    3. Most broodies will leave the nest for about 1/2 hour a day, and that's it. Be sure to leave plenty of food and water nearby...being broody can be very stressful to a hen, obviously, from the lack of being able to go about like normal. My hen even got bald breasts LOL.

    The only way you'll learn is to ask questions...I just hope I've supplied you with enough info for now. [​IMG]

    ***edited to add*** I almost forgot...what I did was mark the eggs with sharpie markers so I'd know which ones were being incubated and which ones were new that I had to remove each day. You can remove eggs from under her...but some people (myself included) opt to wait until the broody is off her nest to remove the new ones.



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    Last edited: Dec 15, 2007
  4. SHELLY

    SHELLY Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 7, 2007
    Southwest Missouri
    Thanks for you input. I really do think she is broody now. She was in the nest every time I went out there today. She did fluff up when I put my hand under her. I decided to let her keep her eggs. I just counted them. She had 4. I know only one is hers, the others belong to my Rhode Island Reds. Tomorrow I will mark them as suggested.

    I'm really excited! I was thinking I would wait until Spring to have chicks.
     
  5. SHELLY

    SHELLY Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 7, 2007
    Southwest Missouri
    Day 4: Sorry I couldn't wait until Day 7. She is still sitting on the eggs. I marked them w/ a sharpie as suggested. I'm glad I did that, there where additional eggs in her box late in the afternoon. I noticed she got up once yesterday to eat.

    So, I've never candled eggs before. The first time I should be able to tell something is Day 7? [​IMG] Do I just get in a dark room and hold a bright light under the egg? What do I look for?

    Thanks.
     
  6. SHELLY

    SHELLY Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 7, 2007
    Southwest Missouri
    Help, she left the nest for most of the day. Please read the edited portion of my first post.
     

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