Broody hen, missing

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by MysteryChik, Jun 16, 2016.

  1. MysteryChik

    MysteryChik Chillin' With My Peeps

    So I posted in a couple other forums about a missing hen we have, thinking for sure something must have gotten her. But I've been thinking lately, maybe that's not the case. When we got her, she came with her chicks. (11 chicks, but one ended up dying) she was very protective of them for the first few weeks. we were told she laid on all eleven and hatched them. Then it became apparent that she was trying to wean them. She started going off without them, pecking at them to get food, etc. (Before that, she was always letting them eat first, teaching them how to scratch, etc).. Okay now to the next part. A week or so after it was apparent that she was weaning them, she laid an egg in the coop. (they free ranged during the day and were cooped at night) My husband got the coop when we noticed it. The next night.. EVERYONE of the chicks and the hen refused to come in the coop. We gathered them all out of the apple tree they were roosting in, and cooped them. Next night, same thing.. refused to come in at night.. only during the day to eat or drink water. Again... we gathered and cooped them. After that, it became impossible to gather them all bc they were roosting higher and higher in the tree. After the third night. we no longer saw the older hen, Granny is her name. Still haven't seen her and its been about two weeks. Started to think she had fallen prey to something. But i'm starting to wonder if its possible that she is laying somewhere and its far enough out of sight that when she comes off to lay, we don't see her. Keep in mind we have 13 acres, but the chicks were right by the goat stall, and donkey stall.. So my question is .. Do you think it possible she got mad that my husband took the first and only egg we know of her laying, and is out somewhere laying on them? any certain areas they like to lay if this happens? saw another post from years ago that sounded an awful lot like what I am posting. The difference is he saw his every three days or so, and he had found a nest of about thirty eggs. we have not. Where should I be looking incase this is the issue we are having?/ thanks in advance for any tips, info, advice.
     
  2. TheKindaFarmGal

    TheKindaFarmGal Overrun With Chickens

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    It's possible, but unlikely. Some hens will go broody right after they leave their chicks, just crazy to be a mother again! She might have made a nest again in another place and gone broody again, in which case she might show up in a week or two. Unfortunately, the most likely thing is that a predator got her. [​IMG]
     
  3. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Chicken Obsessed

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    They aren't that partial to eggs. I think a predator got her.
    Laying an egg is a sure sign the chicks are weaned.
    Before they go to roost in the tree, start giving them scratch to go into the run and coop before dusk and lock them up till they imprint on it again.
     
  4. MysteryChik

    MysteryChik Chillin' With My Peeps

    UPDATE: APPARENTLY SHE DIDN'T GET ATTACKED. SHE WAS BACK TODAY! so relieved .. Me and the kids went to let the other chickens out and there she was! We watched her for over an hour (at a distance so she wouldn't know we were watching) but all she did was scratch and eat. We looked around to try to find a "nest" of eggs but have exhausted places to check. Not to mention its 88 degrees and we were sweating like pigs. Any idea on where they prefer to lay if they are free ranging hens normally in the day? We've looked under buildings, play houses, in the muscadine vines, etc. I just wanna know where she is so we can check on her every now and then. Her eggs are not fertile, so I am hoping she finds out soon enough they aren't going to hatch.
     
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  5. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Chicken Obsessed

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    If she's actually sitting on eggs being broody. It doesn't matter to her that they aren't fertile, she doesn't innately know that. In fact, they'll sit without any eggs.
    The best thing with a broody you don't let hatch chicks is to break their broody cycle immediately (sooner than later).
    If she was off for hours, she's not broody. You may want to observe just before dusk so you can find her preferred sleeping spot and bring her in. Sleeping outside, eventually a predator will find her.
    Preferred nests are dark, secluded spots.

    PS - I'm glad she's back. That's always a beautiful thing.
     
  6. MysteryChik

    MysteryChik Chillin' With My Peeps

    FOUND HER SPOT! She was sitting on FOURTEEN Eggs! Now .. what do you guys suggest we do? obviously wanna break her of this.. whats the best way
     
  7. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Chicken Obsessed

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    Best, tried and true method is to put the bird in an elevated wire bottom cage so cool air can reach her underside - constantly. That will break the hormone cycle.
    Just put a little food and water in there and no bedding of any kind.

    Scramble the eggs up and give them back to the chickens or your dogs if they're infertile.

    Clearly your other birds have been volunteering eggs to the nest or she's been stealing them to bring them to the nest.

    Happy to hear your investigative work has paid dividends.
     
    Last edited: Jun 17, 2016
  8. TheKindaFarmGal

    TheKindaFarmGal Overrun With Chickens

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    That is wonderful that she came back! I didn't think she would! ChickenCanoe gave you some good advice, I don't think I need to add anything. [​IMG]
     
  9. MysteryChik

    MysteryChik Chillin' With My Peeps

    I will try that method, thank you. BUT I don't think there is anyway that the eggs came from any other chick but her. Thing is, our other chicks are only 12 weeks. That's not old enough to lay is it? and The three hens that we just got a few days ago, haven't been out of the open air coop at all. They are four months and the previous owner said they hadn't started laying yet.
     
  10. TheKindaFarmGal

    TheKindaFarmGal Overrun With Chickens

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    The others are too young to start laying. She must have laid all the eggs while weaning her chicks and then disappeared to go broody again. You have a good mama hen there. [​IMG]
     

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