Broody Hen? Would She Work?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by TheHappyHen21, Feb 15, 2016.

  1. TheHappyHen21

    TheHappyHen21 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have a White Silkie Hen a friend had given to me last year. She is the most Broody Hen I have ever owned! I have 10 Black Jersey Giants and plan on hatching some chicks this year.. But don't want to incubate if I don't have to. Could I just let her sit on them? I have never done it that way and would like to tips on what to do as this will be my first time hatching chicks. Or should I wait to see if any of my BJG's are broody? They haven't started laying yet but should be soon.
     
  2. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe True BYC Addict

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    The JGs aren't very likely to go broody.

    The silkie is very reliable but, don't let her stay broody if she isn't sitting on fertile eggs. You could lose her.
     
  3. TheHappyHen21

    TheHappyHen21 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    how does that happen? How could I lose her? I have never owned a hen that went broody and im trying to learn about it :/
     
  4. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

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    Basically you're asking if the silkie will brood the Giant eggs? If so, the answer is yep, absolutely she will. She doesn't care where those eggs came from, she'll happily set on them and raise the chicks for you. I'd imagine you could only fit 6 or so of those big eggs under her.

    There are some great threads here about broody hens, I'd suggest sitting down and doing some reading. The basics I go by are....

    be sure she's broody. For me, that means she's spent 2 nights in a row on the nest, and not getting off during the day except to eat/drink/take potty breaks and maybe dust bathe.

    put all the eggs under her at once. Don't put a few eggs each day for several days. If you don't have enough eggs in one day, store them until you have enough to set under her. Setting them all at once means they'll all hatch at roughly the same time, and that's a good thing.

    Mark the eggs you put under her. Broody hens are notorious for stealing eggs and adding to their clutch as they brood. You don't want eggs added after that first batch is placed, you'll have chicks developing at different rates and hatching a week after the first batch. Not a good thing.

    Wait 21 days, and it's like magic! You get baby chicks [​IMG].


    When Canoe mentioned losing a bird, he was talking about a chicken continually setting on infertile eggs, or nothing at all, for weeks and weeks on end with no chicks ever coming. Most birds will give up at some point, it's really rare to lose a bird that way, but some extreme cases the hen will lose enough condition she can't recover. So, if your girl is broody, either give her eggs to hatch or break her broodiness (lots of threads here on how to do that).
     
  5. TheHappyHen21

    TheHappyHen21 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Very good information! So how do I know if the eggs are fertile when I give them to her? Do I take them from a JG that has made a clutch but not sitting?
     
  6. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

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    I have a hard time cracking an egg and telling if it's fertile. I just trust my roosters to do their job. If you've got 10 birds, I'm guessing one rooster? If the hens are old enough to be laying, he's old enough to be mating and I'd just assume all the eggs are fertile.

    Once you've determined she's broody, I would collect the eggs that are laid that day. With 10 birds, you'll easily get 6 eggs a day, I'd think. Put those fresh eggs under her. mark them somehow, I use a sharpie, so I can tell which are to be incubated. I check under her every day or other day to be sure there haven't been more eggs added to the clutch, and to check for broken eggs.
     
  7. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe True BYC Addict

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    If a determined broody is sitting on eggs that won't hatch or even no eggs she can stay on the nest too long to be healthy.
    A broody hen should sit for about 3 weeks or so till eggs hatch. During that time the come off the nest approximately once a day to defecate, eat, drink and stretch. That really isn't enough nutrition or exercise to keep a bird healthy. If one allows their hens to stay broody when they aren't expecting chicks is basically poor animal husbandry.

    I have a friend that didn't want chicks and had seramas, silkies and turkeys that were often broody. She never broke them from the habit. She had a turkey that was broody for about 6 weeks. After physical therapy and $3000 of vet bills, the turkey died.

    Open the eggs and look for a blastoderm or blastodisc. Infertile eggs will have a whitish dot on the yolk. Fertile eggs will have a halo.
     
  8. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    Last edited: Feb 16, 2016
  9. TheHappyHen21

    TheHappyHen21 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    1 person likes this.
  10. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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