Broody hen ... should I even care?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Johntodd, May 7, 2017.

  1. Johntodd

    Johntodd Out Of The Brooder

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    Got a broody Buff Orpington She's a sweetheart most of the time, but now she's broody. And ticked at me for running her out of the nestbox.

    I've read all kinds of info on breaking broodiness, but I'm wondering if I should even worry about it. The only problem is that she hates me when I collect the eggs. I can handle her; she's no match for me and my gloves.

    So should I try to break the broodiness? Is there any other downside to broody hens? The weather is warming here, so I'm not too worried about weight loss like I would be if winter was coming. The hens have plenty of room outside (300 sq ft per hen), and live a very happy and healthy life in the country with us.

    Thanks!
    -John
     
  2. MasterOfClucker

    MasterOfClucker Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Just let her hatch them.If you have enough space they will be fine.I have one on 12 eggs right now.Good luck!
     
  3. Johntodd

    Johntodd Out Of The Brooder

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    Well, I appreciate the advice, but we don't want more chickens right now. I'll continue to collect the eggs and put the in the fridge.

    Does broodiness have any downsides that would cause serious issues?
     
  4. MasterOfClucker

    MasterOfClucker Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Broodies can get mites and lice easily which will spread to your flock which will just a be nuisance.If you dont want her to go broody you will need to put her in a broody isolation pen.She wont stop.
     
  5. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    Before a hen even starts to lay eggs, let alone go broody, she stores up extra fat. When she goes broody that excess fat is mainly what she lives on. That’s why she doesn’t have to leave the nest much to eat and drink. A broody hen will lose a lot of weight while broody but for the first several weeks it’s just that excess fat meant for that purpose. I’m comfortable with a broody hen staying broody and on the nest for about five weeks as long as she is hatching eggs. If you want to give her eggs that take longer to hatch than chicken eggs, like turkey eggs, she can handle it.

    But at some point that fat runs out. Some will break themselves then and stop being broody. But some didn’t get that memo and will continue to sit. Most will break before they harm themselves but occasionally you’ll get one that won’t.

    Another downside to a hen staying broody is that she is not laying eggs. After she breaks from being broody she has to rebuild that extra fat before she starts laying again. The longer she is broody the longer that takes.

    If you have roost mites, a broody hen is more at risk than other chickens. Not everybody has roost mites of course, but you need to keep up with your checks for that. Roost mites can kill a broody hen. It’s not that a broody hen will cause you to have mites or lice, either they are there or they are not. But in her “weakened” state, they are more likely to congregate on her if they are present.

    Personally if I don’t give her eggs to hatch I break one pretty quickly. It seems to keep the flock humming along smoother.
     
  6. tinakevin

    tinakevin Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sometimes it can lead to some issues especially if she's determined. If you can break her it would be better for her. I use a large rabbit cage elevated and it works well and it usually only takes 3 days. Food and water only. Make sure that air can get under her belly. Good luck. I have silkies and standard Cochins and they go broody often.
     
  7. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    If you don't want her to hatch out chicks, best to break her broodiness promptly.
    My experience went like this: After her setting for 3 days and nights in the nest, I put her in a wire dog crate with smaller wire on the bottom but no bedding, set up on a couple of 4x4's right in the coop and I would feed her some crumble a couple times a day.

    I let her out a couple times a day(you don't have to) and she would go out into the run, drop a huge turd, race around running, take a vigorous dust bath then head back to the nest... at which point I put her back in the crate. Each time her outings would lengthen a bit, eating, drinking and scratching more and on the 3rd afternoon she stayed out of the nest and went to roost that evening...event over, back to normal tho she didn't lay for another week or two.
    Water nipple bottle added after pic was taken.
    [​IMG]
     
  8. Johntodd

    Johntodd Out Of The Brooder

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    Sorry for the late reply.

    We let her go broody, and she is still sitting. She appears to be in great shape. I see her coming out once a day to refresh and poop.

    Time will tell. She's sitting on 10 eggs right now.

    Thanks for all the info!
    -John
     

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