Broody Hen Thread!

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by FarmerBoy24, May 1, 2011.

  1. EnnisLakeFarm

    EnnisLakeFarm Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 21, 2011
    I have a broody Australorp. I don't have a roo but I am going to incubate a batch of shipped eggs. Last year when this gal went broody I gave her some eggs and while she sat the whole time other girls were eating her eggs (I think,they disappeared one or two a day). I've seen some people incubate until lockdown and then put the eggs under the hen.
    Is this a good plan? Have you had any success with this?
  2. fisherlady

    fisherlady Overrun With Chickens

    Silkies will often sleep overnight on the floor rather than a high roost... this isn't all the time though. It is a bird mood thing. You can encourage her by placing a shallow pan filled with the nesting material of your choice in an area of the coop where she could brood out of the way and then place a couple of golf balls in the nest you make... make sure you collect all real eggs from the coop each day so she can't find any eggs to sleep on other than the ones in the nest you provided.
    If you provide her a shallow pan or box with it well lined with bedding material she will be able to brood eggs fine. another option is to get a large cardboard box, cut out one side of it and use it to provide a 'false floor' in the coop in the area you want your girl to brood, it will cut down air flow under her area, but doesn't have to extend very far beyond her area. Our silkie hatched out eggs in January last year with most of her brooding time being in the 0-10 degree range.

    They are both adorable! Congrats on the new chick!

    Pollo portero and AmericanMom...
    Both of you are asking about what I call a 'staggered hatch'. It is the result of eggs being set over multiple days, rather than all at the same time. There are certainly challenges with staggered hatches, but they can mostly be minimized at least with a little understanding of what is happening.

    Broodies are able to slow or speed egg development slightly by the way they shuffle around the eggs to control temps, but this is a minimal impact, so it may shorten the length of the staggered hatch by maybe a day, but won't eliminate it. Mother nature has built in a safety net for staggered hatch chicks... they can survive without food or water for up to 3 days after the hatch. This allows them to stay in the nest with Mom for an extended time while she continues to set waiting on the late hatchers. After 3 days though the hen will have to decide whether to get up to take care of the first hatched chicks or stay tight on the late bloomers... and that is where the conflict begins and we can intervene to help reduce the stresses.
    By placing food and water in an area close to the broody (within reach by stretching her neck a bit) you will allow her to teach the little ones how to eat without getting up. You can hold the chick waterer in front of mama to let her get a drink, and teach the babies to drink... then move it to a location close by so she can watch the little ones getting their drinks but it cant be spilled into the nest.
    This will extend the 'safety net' by another 2 days maybe... but you will need to be ready to either pull and pitch the remaining eggs or if you think they are still viable you may need to pull them and finish them in an incubator and either brood them yourself or graft them back to the mama if they hatch within a day or two. The reason I say be ready is because you may find mama has decided to get out of the nest and start caring for the already hatched babies and you will need to be ready to grab up the eggs to check them.

    Some folks take the newly first hatched babies from mama so she remains on the eggs longer, and then gives the babies back to her after the rest of the eggs hatch, but by doing this you take a big chance that mama hen may not be willing to take back the chicks, especially if 3 or 4 days have passed. My preference is to leave the babies with her when they hatch, but it is a personal choice, so just wanted to advise it was an option.

    AmericanMom... just wanted to add... I don't know how many eggs total you have between broody and bator... but if there are a lot, I would only add however many needed to bring her to a number she can easily cover, and leave the rest in the incubator. Better to give her a good chance with 10, than a poor chance with 14 if you understand what I mean... it may still give you enough room in the bator to squeeze in the turkey eggs, and when the chicks do hatch you may still slip them under the broody, and you will only be risking a rejected adoption of 4 or 5 rather than 8 or 10 (again, I'm not sure what numbers you have)
    1 person likes this.
  3. AmericanMom

    AmericanMom Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 10, 2013
    Thank you, I am going to choose the five best eggs and add those to the broody. My BA's are getting older and those eggs are pretty porous so I have decided to go ahead and cull them now. I don't want to risk trying to hatch them in the incubator two weeks before the turkey eggs are set to hatch I don't want to risk the turkeys . I will do just as you say with the broody if in fact the hatch is staggered longer than # days... I'll keep my eye on her. thanks for the advice!
  4. Lady of McCamley

    Lady of McCamley Chicken Obsessed

    Mar 19, 2011
    NW Oregon
    There are numerous ways to approach this, but I'd move her now and get her used to her new settings so that she likes it when she is ready.
    Otherwise you have to move her when she is broody and risk her not being happy with the new digs...and that can often happen as they frequently will grow very attached to the first place they choose and abandon the new area to go back to their first place choice. Some birds move well, others simply don't. Since you want her to brood in the new place anyway, move her now.

    I've had better luck that way, anyway.
    Lady of McCamley
  5. sonderah

    sonderah Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 26, 2013
    Hardinsburg, Ky
    Thanks for the advice. Last night she slept somewhere else so I'm thinking I was just getting my hopes up. Lol I'm setting her eggs in the bator this morning, would have love for her to get to hatch them! But someday maybe. Not like I won't get more! :)
  6. Dknichelson

    Dknichelson Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 17, 2014
    I have a Silkie thats gone broody, on the floor of the coop and off of the raised potion of the floor(doh!). At this point I don't know what to do to move her. She's seriously hunkered down and seems in no mood to be bothered. I'm not sure at this point if it's worth it to upset her or if I should just trust her instincts and choice of nesting location....
  7. fisherlady

    fisherlady Overrun With Chickens

  8. PortlandHen

    PortlandHen Out Of The Brooder

    Jan 31, 2014
    Portland, OR
    I've been wandering the broody forums for a bit of info, and learned A LOT, but still thought I should ask my own questions. Our Blue Cochin decided to go broody 4 days ago. I thought maybe she was sick (it's all new for us, our first set of girls are officially 1 year now), but after some research I realized that all her poofy/weirdness was broodiness. We can't have roosters in our city, so we went to a local nursery and bought some of their fertile eggs and shoved them under her.

    Here are my questions: she does NOT move at all. She's typically the most timid (and sweet) chicken of the group, but the broodiness has made her SUPER growly and protective over that little box she hangs out in. Before we put the eggs under we would push her out of the box once a day to go drink and eat. Now that she's actually laying on fertilized eggs, we're not sure what to do. She just lays there in a little trance. I pushed a little bowl of food near her face and she screamed. I'm guessing she may try and eat it, but what about the water? Do we push her out to get her to stretch/drink/etc? Mrs. Pickles being broody:

    It's all so new. Thanks for your help! [​IMG]
  9. K Spot

    K Spot Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 14, 2013
    SE Qld, Australia
    Try not to worry too much PortlandHen. She may be getting of the nest for a quick bite to eat, quick drink, relive herself and get back on the nest without you seeing it.

    I currently have two Welsummers on eggs (my first time also) at the moment and they spend pretty much all day on the nests. When I go into the coop to fill up food and top up water they fluff up at me, growl and carry on.
    When I candle the eggs, I get hard pecks to the hands and even more aggressive behaviour.

    Your little hen knows what she's doing, so try and trust her. [​IMG] Good luck with the incubation and hatch, it's all so exciting.
    1 person likes this.
  10. fisherlady

    fisherlady Overrun With Chickens

    K Spot already answered your questions... but I just wanted to add... your girl is the poster child for ''I am broody, leave me alone!!" [​IMG] I absolutely adore that 'super puff' look they get! she is adorable!

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