Broody hen wont eat drink or poop

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by bvdave, Jan 17, 2017.

  1. bvdave

    bvdave New Egg

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    Mar 17, 2014
    I have a hen that went broody a few days ago, its her first time (first of any of my birds actually) and being so cold I wasn't expecting it, her nest box is off the ground and its constantly below 0 so I quickly built her a small portable cage about 2 feet by 4 feet layered it with news paper and bought a kitty litter box and filled it with wood shavings for her nest. I then moved her and the new brooding cage into my insulated workshop where I also keep a small office so its also heated during the day via a wood stove and a small solar heater.

    anyways, its been 2 days now and she has not moved from her eggs, not to eat, not to drink, go to the bathroom or anything. I read a suggestion to try taking her off the nest and put her by the food, which I did, but she just laid right down as if she was sitting on eggs. didnt touch the food or water inches from her face, no bathroom or anything. just laid down as if she was on eggs again... I gave it about 8 mins and moved her back to the eggs (not sure how long I should be leaving them unattended and she didnt seem to be going back on her own)

    should I just leave her until hunger drives her from the nest? or should I try anything else?[​IMG]
     
  2. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe True BYC Addict

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    Leave her alone.
    She knows what she is doing.
    A hen will stay on the eggs much longer when it is cold. Sometimes days at a time.
    If it is warmer, they'll come off daily for a few minutes to defecate, eat, drink and stretch.
    A broody hen is in a trance most of the time. It keeps her metabolism low requiring less food and water.
    In millions of years of brooding eggs/chicks, I doubt a hen has ever starved herself to death. If they did, they would be extinct.
    Just make sure food and water is readily available near the nest.
     
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  3. bvdave

    bvdave New Egg

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    Mar 17, 2014
    I did read a thread somewhere about one that starved itself which made me nervous, but ill leave her be :) thanks
     
  4. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe True BYC Addict

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    I had a friend that never broke her hens from being broody and occasionally they would die because they didn't have fertile eggs to hatch and just stayed put.
    All things being normal/natural, it doesn't happen.
    Once we start interfering with nature is when things go awry.
     
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2017
  5. Dmontgomery

    Dmontgomery Chillin' With My Peeps Premium Member

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    I had an OEGB sit on eggs 29 days through 96 degree heat before we finally gave her a couple chicks to replace the eggs. I figured she would die for sure, but she didn't. They know what they are doing. Don't interfere if you can help it. You've provided her with everything she needs.
     
  6. chickens really

    chickens really Chicken Obsessed

    What I have done with my broody and it works....I remove her from the nest every second day. I put her food and water on the floor in my garage and let her walk around, she poops, eats and drinks. Once she is done I put her back into her cage with her nest of eggs...I feed her on the nest everyday, water bowl and feed placed by her head. I do that once a day....she drinks and eats then...other than that she will not leave the nest....Works for me....


    Cheers!
     
  7. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    The one and only broody I've had wouldn't eat or drink either, I also took her out and put her next to the water just to have her hunker down on the ground.
    So I dipped her beak in the water a couple times, she snapped out of her fugue and drank like crazy, then ate, then ran around and dropped a huge turd.
    Then back to the nest, she came off daily after that to do her duties. I had isolated her by then can could tell when she ate/drank/pooped.
     
  8. bvdave

    bvdave New Egg

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    Mar 17, 2014
    she still hasent left the nest at all, the beak dipping idea sounds good, but I also dont want to upset her and the first suggestions were to leave her be.. maybe I should give her another day or two? (I know humans can survive 3 days without water, can a chicken last longer because shes about at the 3 day mark now)
     
  9. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    Hard to say 'when' is the best time...I personally wouldn't wait too long.
    Is your "below 0" Centigrade or Fahrenheit?
    Hopefully you can easily reach her to do this.
    Even if she's 'upset' she should get back to nest quickly if she's serious and being confined will help.
    Just be calm and confident, coo to her in a quiet voice.
    My broody was a complete 'never handle her' bird, but she got used to me touching her and was fine after the first few touches.
     
  10. bvdave

    bvdave New Egg

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    I picked her up again and put her beside food and water, this time she started drinking immediately so I left her alone, came back 7-8 mins later and she was on her nest, and had pooped and looks like she ate as well so all looks good now, guess she just needed a bit of a push.
     

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