Broody hen, moulting hen and no eggs!!

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by popularfurball, Aug 13, 2013.

  1. popularfurball

    popularfurball Out Of The Brooder

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    May 25, 2013
    So my grey speckled hen has decided she wants babies. And she wants them now - no discussion!! She hasn't left the nest box for a week. She is angry, hissing and biting and puffing up if I go near her. She isn't sat on any eggs and hasn't been for the week, and I don't have a rooster.

    My skyline went broody a while ago and I picked her up and turfed her out and that was the end of it?! However she is now moulting?!

    Poor little leghorn is stuck in the middle - and none of the girls are laying. Mrs Skyline and mrs leghorn can't get anywhere near the nesting box to lay there either!

    She's so stubbornly broody I'm almost tempted to borrow a boy and let him run with them for a few days so at least she would be sat on something!!! However the girls are all different breeds - would this matter of dad was a different breed? I have enough space for babies and once big they can live at the farm up the road (and I would keep some) - though I have no experience of baby chicks and this is the first year of lay for the three girls.
     
  2. ChickensAreSweet

    ChickensAreSweet Heavenly Grains for Hens

    If you have a broody I'd try to add another nest box somehow...a weighted dish pan or covered kitty litter pan...anything- even a cardboard box will do.

    Broody hens won't lay eggs when they are broody...and if you run a rooster with them the rooster may have diseases...so be cautious about where you get him from.

    If your other girls aren't laying it wouldn't be a good time to bring a cock bird in.

    You can try to break a broody by putting her in a cage with a wire bottom (no nest) for a few days with food and water.

    Mixed breed chickens are just fine. Many do this. You don't want a tiny bantam hen with a HUGE cock bird though.
     
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2013
  3. popularfurball

    popularfurball Out Of The Brooder

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    May 25, 2013
    The nest box is big (I never got round to dividing it in two, but they won't even go upstairs unless it is late and she will be sleeping! She is hissing and going for them too!

    I managed to coax her out (she isn't getting out to eat either) and locked the coop up... So for the first time I then found a hen on the roof of my coop. Clearly either in extreme protest about being evicted or looking for a new mum who is happy for her to have babies!![​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2013
  4. popularfurball

    popularfurball Out Of The Brooder

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    May 25, 2013
    So we are now well into week four of her being broody. She is not relenting!

    I don't have a wire based cage, but I have been evicting her daily - she just broods somewhere else.

    Will getting some eggs help? I love the idea of baby chicks but in reality if they are boys they will be dispatched but I would feel awful doing that.

    I don't know what else to do with her she is eating once a day if that.
     
  5. popularfurball

    popularfurball Out Of The Brooder

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    May 25, 2013
    Well week five is here and no signs of letting up. If I evict her she now sits on our six foot fence (where I can't reach her) and screams until she is let back in :(

    I really don't know what to do with her - been looking at day old chicks but its hard to find auto sexed chicks here
     
  6. Bullitt

    Bullitt Chillin' With My Peeps

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    You can order chicks from a hatchery to be delivered in a few days. Maybe that will work for you.
     
  7. Lady of McCamley

    Lady of McCamley Overrun With Chickens

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    At 5 weeks, she is probably close to being done with her brood, however if she is determined she may not stop until she gets some eggs to sit on or chicks that have hatched (some are very determined that way...most will eventually break.)

    Personally, I'd stop frustrating her, as she is only getting really distressed, and let her settle back down into a quiet box...I think you had a make shift one set up so it doesn't interfer with the other hens...that would be best.

    Here you have a choice...once she settles for a few days, swap some chicks under her if you can. I would have suggested fertile eggs, but again, at 5 weeks, she is probably almost done as they normally brood for about that long.

    Otherwise, you'll have to encourage her out of her brood, but with more gentle measures. I've had really good results with this procedure with a sulking broody (who got displaced from her nest with fertile eggs with a more dominant hen and sulked for several weeks in the main coop).

    Let her settle in a box for a couple of days until she is once again calm and not so disgruntled. Once she is settled for a few days, only then would I daily lift her gently, stroke her, and set her outside the nest box beside some really, really, nummy treats...the kind she would normally run across the yard to get from you. She'll probably be a bit annoyed, and may ignore it the first time, but if they are really nummy treats, she'll likely try eating a few. Have the treats placed far enough away so she has to walk a little to get back to her nest, but don't stop her from going back into the nest. Repeat the next day. Repeat a couple of times the next day. Repeat 3 times the following day. By then she will likely linger with those treats.

    I kept doing this with my sulky Black Star and within a few days I saw her more and more out in the yard after the treat, and at the end of the week she was running to greet me with the treat bucket and done sulking and brooding.

    Anyway, I believed it helped and it uses positive food reinforcement. My family did 7 guide dog projects and learned the wonders of positive training techniques with dogs, so I tried it on my chickens in various ways, and the principles still work, even with a broody hen.

    Patience, gentleness and persistence will be important.

    Hopefully it will help in your case as well.
    Lady of McCamley
     
    Last edited: Aug 27, 2013
  8. popularfurball

    popularfurball Out Of The Brooder

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    May 25, 2013
    Thanks for the advice - I will try the food thing - she is happy and quiet all the time, unless I open the lid or remove her. The other two just don't go near her!

    One of the others went broody a while back - I simply lifted her out for a few days and she was fine - I wondered why people had issues with broodies... Little did I know!

    I am struggling to find young auto sexed chicks - it's the end of the breeding season and people are stopping hatching apparently.
     
  9. popularfurball

    popularfurball Out Of The Brooder

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    May 25, 2013
    I have found a place with cream legbar chicks so will get some at the weekend if needs be.

    I managed to coax her out with tuna this morning - naughty but her favourite. She actually came running downstairs woop!!
     
  10. popularfurball

    popularfurball Out Of The Brooder

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    May 25, 2013
    Meet Tilly and Floss - and a very happy mum!

    [​IMG][/IMG]
     

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