Broody Hen Thread!

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

  1. Romoshka

    Romoshka Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 15, 2012
    Clemson, SC
    We have about 45 black Australorps and have never had one go broody BUT my neighbor free ranges his chickens and they seem to prefer my farm during the day. Conveniently several hens lay in my barn and I get 6-8 free eggs daily. Now most of his birds are (IMHO) ugly naked neck birds but there is one gorgeous speckled hen who went broody in my hay. We protected her space and worked around "her" space. Sadly at night on day 18 something got her. I've heard that game hens are real broody and am thinking of getting at least one for a SHTF scenario. Can anyone comment on this? Are game hens traditionally broody?
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2014
  2. fisherlady

    fisherlady Overrun With Chickens

    sonderah... congrats on the successful hatch and the 'transplanting'!

    most of our hens spend most of the first 24 to 48 hours after hatch still setting on the nest with the babies mostly under them, some of the more adventurous babies pop out and explore right around their mama after the first 16 hours or so, but rarely leave the immediate nest. If the food is close by the mama will begin teaching them to eat while still setting on remaining eggs or slower chicks. After 48 hours our hens usually are out of the nest for quick meals, water and short scratching for goodies times, but we have a sand floor in the coop and broody area, so they get to start teaching the babies before they go outside.
    The chicks usually are good at understanding mama's verbal cues after the first 2 days out of the nest, and ours are usually taking them outside to start foraging by the time they are 3 or 4 days old. The first day or so they usually stay within a short distance of the coop, by the third day out or so (when the chicks are 7 days old) the hen is spending most of her day outside with the chicks free ranging. If they are out of the run, make sure there is an easy to access water source. Also pay special attention to how they are doing with the ramps and such so they can all get back into the coop.
  3. Lady of McCamley

    Lady of McCamley Chicken Obsessed

    Mar 19, 2011
    NW Oregon
    I'd give it at least a couple of days...and keep a very close watch in case she becomes anxious and wants out and in the process tramples a chick. I am surprised she went wandering so soon...unless she was up for a very short stretch/potty break with full intention of going back, she may have been looking for her other babies as you went from quite a number down to 3? right? I've never had one of my hens actually leave the babies within the first week...I've had babies wander off away from mom and get stuck...but mom is worried about them and trying to round everyone back up again.

    I'd let them all sit tight for a least a couple of days....or until the babies are sturdy enough that they can follow mom into the run. Hopefully she'll attach to these new babies by then....likely she will.

    Lady of McCamley
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2014
  4. Turkeytruff

    Turkeytruff Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 25, 2012
    Vancouver Island, Canada
    the good the bad and the ugly
    Well it's interesting hearing everyone else's experience of broody hens.
    The good - I have a part silkie/EE/BCM hen who is not a year old yet but is broody for the 2nd time this year. She just finished raising 4 chantecler/EE little gangbusters [​IMG] Anyway she is double bumming a nest with a turkey hen - who normally would peck her out of the way at feeding time. Strange bedfellows.... 7 turkey eggs and 1 bantam olive green egg under her/them.

    Another good is that one of my broodies stopped mothering 3 chicks at about 4 weeks of age - 2 weeks later (they were warily integrating with the flock but not happy that their mama didn't want to know them anymore) one of the older hens has suddenly adopted them, and is happily taking them around everywhere and cuddling them at night. So sweet and unexpected - she has never gone broody for me before.

    The ugly - I placed 5 3 day old chicks under a broody I had moved to a quiet dog crate a couple of days before. I did it at night and sat in the henhouse in the dark for an hour listening to her. one chick wandered out immediately, she pecked at it, and I grabbed that one and kept it and returned it eventually to my ecoglow. The other 4 seemed to be well settled under her, although she didn't make any noises to them and did occasionally peck at herself - her wing, and the side of the cage-. I waited and waited, the chicks all quieted and went to sleep and she seemed to settle well so after an hour I left.

    In the morning I was horrified to find 2 dead chicks and a 3rd one pipping loudly at the front of the cage. She had pecked them all, and the 3rd one despite my intense efforts died 2 days later. One was still under her, sleeping quietly, and I scooped that one out and brought it back into the brooder.

    Aside from feeling a complete failure as a chicken mother, I did wonder if I should have just put 1 under her the first night. Was she overwhelmed? In the past I have given 4 chicks to broodies in one go, and they were completely accepted.
    Should I only ever leave them under if I hear the broody make clucking noises to the chicks? Because I have also had broodies who didn't talk the first night, but were excellent mothers.
  5. Lady of McCamley

    Lady of McCamley Chicken Obsessed

    Mar 19, 2011
    NW Oregon
    That is such a tough one, and don't blame is hard to know when a hen will accept chicks and when she won't.

    I guess my only question would be...has this hen gone broody before successfully? How long had she been broody this time before you placed chicks?

    Even my most faithful Silkie seems to have optimum times. When she had sat for 4 weeks, then hatched chicks, and I gave her some fosters...she was more than eager to receive them. Swooped them into her bosom with an evil glare at me. Another time I placed her on a nest in an emergency save after she had just gone broody when another hen quit a nest, and she hatched chicks in a week, and she was eager. Another time, I placed several store bought fosters after she had been broody just a couple of days, and while she did not terrorize them, she was clearly not quite as eager and actually pecked in the direction of one. I was able to make a go of it, but I began to realize there seems to be optimum times to introduce chicks.

    That would be my guess. Maybe her hormones weren't quite fully engaged especially with the move just a couple of days before....presuming she has been a fine mother before.

    Sorry to hear your losses...I've had my failures too with fosters and it is disheartening to remove the sad little bodies. [​IMG]

    It's hard, but I've learned to simply focus on the successes and learn from my failures...each time I become better at keeping chickens.

    Lady of McCamley
    Last edited: Apr 20, 2014
  6. henroo

    henroo Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 10, 2014
    Here's my broody hen... she is on day 12 today...
    she's the very first hen i got.. and also the very first broody i got...
    she's my favorite hen... hope to get some nice chicks from her...
    9 long days to wait... she was the top hen but unfortunately now she is the bottom one..
    hope that her status rise again in the pecking order when her chicks hatch...
    Last edited: Apr 20, 2014
  7. sonderah

    sonderah Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 26, 2013
    Hardinsburg, Ky
    Thanks for all the advice all. It has been a very fun experience! Right now I am leaving them be and just peek in on occasion. All I see is her sitting there so far. I haven't seen the babies since an hr after I blocked her in with them. They are hopefully jut snuggled in sleeping. But I do not want to disturb her.

    I have a turkey hen due to hatch this next Friday! She has chicken and turkey eggs, that had been in my bator so due to hatch at the same time. I will take the chicks from her and some of the poults and only leave her with 2-3 poults to raise. She has seemed to also have done an awesome job!! Guess we will see soon!!
  8. chickencrazy999

    chickencrazy999 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 6, 2013
    England, UK
    Hey Guys I was just wondering if any of you could tell me colour my chicks are going to be be when they grow up Thank you

    They are silkie bantams here are the pics: [​IMG]
  9. ocap

    ocap Overrun With Chickens

    Jan 1, 2013
    Smithville, Missouri
    to all those that have answered questions on this thread: THANK YOU

    my old English game bantam and my silkie bantam successfully adopted, my wife and I placed two under each broody pullet last night after dark and today they are acting like experienced moms.
  10. Lady of McCamley

    Lady of McCamley Chicken Obsessed

    Mar 19, 2011
    NW Oregon

    So happy for you! Congratulations!
    Lady of McCamley

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