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Broody hen question....

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by hennypennysmom, Dec 20, 2009.

  1. hennypennysmom

    hennypennysmom Out Of The Brooder

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    Jan 31, 2009
    Plymouth, Ma
    So - yesterday my husband said that he thought one of the hens, Aster, was sick. He said she had been sitting in one of the nesting boxes all afternoon while he worked to cover the run with plastic (we had a blizzard here last night!)....i looked at her, reached underneath and found she was sitting on an egg. I think she's broody...[​IMG].

    She's in there now - has been since this morning. Was reading a few things on the internet, then here. She seems bothered when I try and pick her up and move her - she feels very hot too - although maybe that's just the way she feels - i've never noticed!

    oh - and we don't have a rooster - so it's all for naught!

    I have a few questions:

    - i read somewhere that i should throw away the egg/eggs she's sitting on - but i'm sort of assuming she's laying the eggs - she seems to lay one every day. why throw it away? we check for eggs several times a day, and have removed eggs from underneath her (the other day she was sitting on 2, but i knew they were laid that morning cause we check so frequently). is it dangerous to eat the eggs we find underneath her? [​IMG]

    - i read about putting her in a cage, up high....it's cold here - we got nearly 2' of snow, and i'm worried that if we put her by herself she'll freeze to death.

    - i don't have a wire-bottom cage to put her in - i do have a larger sized cat carrier - would that replicate a nesting box too much to work?

    - any other suggestions to help her get over this? we have nearly 2' of snow and there's no way for me to get out at this point - our street hasn't been plowed.

    - we have 7 hens, no roosters, 2 nesting boxes - they've been laying about a month - we get (on average) 4 eggs a day right now. today someone layed an egg in the run - they all immediately ran over and started pecking at it - thankfully i scooped it up - but i wonder if it's all the confusion in the last 24 hrs for them (blizzard, etc)...all the eggs have been found in the nesting boxes and they don't free range.

    any help would be greatly appreciated!

    i'm gonna go out there now and see what she's doing....

    kara
     
  2. valentinebaby

    valentinebaby Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 23, 2009
    Sherman-Denison, TX
    I'm sure I'm going against what most might say - it's been a while since I've been on BYC... I have 2 hens, 1 in particular, who go broody on me every now and then and I find that if I just reach in to the nesting box (mine is designed to retrieve from the outside) and then plop her on the ground out of the coop and run she eventually gets over it. Sometimes, I take them 30-40 feet away from the coop if they're really persistent about getting back to the nest. I've never had one peck me while trying to get her out of the box. I just talk to her gently and do it very "matter of factly". Mind you, when they're really broody, I have to do it several times a day. This 1 in particular just got over another go with it and I was able to break her in about a day and 1/2. It probably helps that I took the plunge and they now free-range over my 2 acres, so I'm sure this would be harder to do if they were confined to a run only.

    I've always used the eggs they've sat on - even in the summer - and I never had a problem, but I usually catch them in the act within 2-4 hours of sitting. But check the experts post on that. My biggest problem is that unbelievable cold snap that started about 2 weeks ago here in North Texas (in the teens) have sent some of my girls into what I think is an early molt!

    I will say that whatever you do, persistence on your part is the key no matter what route you take. Good luck! Gail
     
  3. hennypennysmom

    hennypennysmom Out Of The Brooder

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    Jan 31, 2009
    Plymouth, Ma
    I went out there, spent about 30 mins in the run with the chickens. Removed her from the box - (no eggs), put her down in the run - she ate, pooped, went back into the henhouse and went up on a perch, then back into her nest.....fluffed herself down - made some funny chirping noises ... i'm thinking for sure she is broody! i just left here there cause it's getting dark, and they are all starting to go to bed anyways. not sure what to do to break this cycle...especially with the weather, etc.

    Looking forward to any/all suggestions!

    Kara
     
  4. valentinebaby

    valentinebaby Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 23, 2009
    Sherman-Denison, TX
    That's exactly what they do when they're broody - it's funny to see their feathers all fluffed out - kinda like a tom turkey strutting his stuff! Anyway, I would pull her out of the nest and put her up on the roost yourself - she may come down, but if you do it enough, she may decide to stay up there with the other girls to keep warm!
     
  5. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    You can try the cat carrier. It could work. Just make sure she does not have any nesting material or anything in there that looks like a nest. Bright light seems to help break them too if you can manage that. If it is too dark for her to find her way back to the nest, putting her on the roost at night would also be worth trying. The reason the wire bottomed cage works so well is that it cools her bottom. Setting on a cold roost all night might help.

    If she is broody, she is not the one laying the eggs. The other hens are laying in her nest. They really like to do that. I have always been comfortable eating the eggs as long as you gather them at least once a day. It does take a little while for anything to develop. I always break an egg in a separate bowl anyway, whether there is a broody or not. I'd recommend you do that with the eggs just so you feel better.

    Good luck. A broody can be frustrating when you don't want one.
     
  6. hennypennysmom

    hennypennysmom Out Of The Brooder

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    Jan 31, 2009
    Plymouth, Ma
    Thanks everyone.

    I left her out there in the nesting box for the night. I could go out there and try and move her to the roost now, but I'm afraid they are all up there by now and asleep and I'll cause all kinds of commotion....so I think I might wait til tomorrow. [​IMG]

    I'm hoping to find a dog crate that I can use. For those of you who have done this - should I bring her into the garage? I hate, hate, hate the idea of her being in a cage, out in the run all alone - thinking she'll freeze to death. We just got 2' of snow and the temps are plummeting. If I can bring her into the garage (and you are saying leave the light on?) I will try that starting tomorrow. If I can't find a cage, might have my husband fashion one for her. We do have a wire cage (open top and bottom though) - wonder if putting newspaper down, and putting her in there (it's a moveable dog pen) would be better than the cat carrier....the carrier will be fairly dark and I'm afraid she'll look at that like it's another nesting box....

    She's so cute and a really nice girl....but she's for sure got some instinct thing happening right now! Hoping this works....[​IMG]

    Thanks so much - we love our chickens and want to be sure that everyone is healthy and happy....[​IMG]

    Kara
     
  7. lauralou

    lauralou Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Dec 10, 2007
    Central Virginia
    I think bringing her into the garage is a good idea. It's cold and wretched here, too. We also have 2 feet of snow. I wouldn't put a broody hen in one of my outside broody jails right now. So, yeah the garage sounds good.

    You can try both containers that you have. It will take a few days anyway. I'm thinking the wire one will be best, but who knows? Leave the light on for her also. That's good advice.

    [​IMG]
     

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