broody hen

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by kareninthesun, Aug 13, 2011.

  1. kareninthesun

    kareninthesun Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 1, 2011
    Had to laugh, looking up info on what makes a broody such. One site defines a Broody Hen as 'an adult female hen'. Duh, I figured that part out on on own. Now, correct me if I'm wrong, but is a Broody Hen one which stops laying eggs and is focused only on sitting (setting) on a group of eggs, known to gather together eggs that aren't hers? More or less adopts them and protects/cares for them with a vengence? Then she raises them. Afterwards (hopefully) she goes back to her old self? In researching (lightly, nothing indepth) studies indicate that this doesn't happen as much in newer established breeds, but is more from long standing types of breeds? What in a hen's nature makes one want to choose this, even if it is short term? Do hens whom have never hatched chicks also do this? Can it be a deep need to mother a group of chicks? Then what (besides reality!) causes them to say, 'OK, enough already!' Are hens whom show more characteristics of care earlier more likely to become Broody, such as the ones whom are more patient with chicks or don't mind them hanging around, or do practical things like mashing up a bit of fruit to teach them?

    Just wondering...
  2. gritsar

    gritsar Cows, Chooks & Impys - OH MY!

    Nov 9, 2007
    SW Arkansas
    You are correct that a broody hen is one that stops laying and starts setting. Broodiness has been bred out of alot of breeds in favor of egg production.

    No telling what actually causes it, but I have a few hens whose broody switch seems to be stuck in the ON position. [​IMG]
  3. BetterHensandGardens

    BetterHensandGardens Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 28, 2010
    Clinton, OH
    The broody hen is how chicks got raised before there were hatcheries and incubators. In the natural course of things, a hen lays eggs until she has a clutch size to her liking and then she starts setting on them. She continues to set on them (incubate them) for an average of 20 days until they hatch. Then she raises the baby chicks. We currently have a broody hen raising her first clutch, see details here:
    desire to raise chicks has been bred out of the commercial breeds, because they want the chicken to lay eggs, not raise chicks.
  4. 7&8

    7&8 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 29, 2010
    What precipitates broodiness - good question. I'm asking the same myself. It's gotta be a hormonal shift. But what brings that on?

    I have a hen who has been phenomenally bugged by having to live in the same, albeit, large, confines with two broods of chicks while they have been raised. The whole pile of birds are now roosting together. There are plenty of roost bars for all, but in the same coop. I've been wondering if broody took to the nest because she couldn't stand the drama created by two hens settling a batch of eight and ten week old chicks at roost time. I know the insanity [​IMG] [​IMG] would be enough to send me packing for my own soft, quiet space to cry over my lot in life [​IMG]...
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2011

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