Broody Hen?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by bloom chicks, Nov 27, 2011.

  1. bloom chicks

    bloom chicks Chillin' With My Peeps

    373
    1
    103
    Jun 6, 2011
    FL
    I am new to having chickens. I have a red rock that has been in her nest since this morning (at least since I have let them out). Before 7:30am. She makes a funny noise when other hens come close to her. She is 27 weeks old. She has only been laying for 3 weeks. I put some eggs in front of her and she put them under her.

    The nest she is in she was the only one laying in, however my BR just started laying and it is in her box. We have 7 boxes. This morning BR layed her egg while Red Rock was still in there.
    Do I need to move her somewhere else? I would love it if she really is broody but not sure what the best thing to do is.
    If I move her will she not be broody any more?


    If she decides to get off the eggs today are they still good to eat?
     
  2. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

    19,956
    3,122
    476
    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    My rule for determining if they are broody is where they spend the night. If a hen stays on her nest two nights in a row, then I consider her broody and worthy of eggs. Otherwise, they are just messing with me.

    If she is broody, you have a couple of basic options. You can leave her where she is. Hens have been hatching and raising chicks with the flock for thousands of years. Sometimes there are problems, but sometimes there are problems if you try to move one and isolate her. You need to collect the eggs every day until you have all you want her to hatch, then give them all to her at the same time. If you collect them once a day, before nightfall, they are good to eat.

    If you elect to leave her, you need to mark each egg so you know which eggs belong there. I use a Sharpie and just make two circles around the egg so I can instantly see which one belongs. Then every day, you need to look under the hen and remove all the eggs that don't belong. Remember, they are still good to eat. If you don't remove them, two bad things might happen. If she collects enough eggs that she cannot cover them all, the eggs that get pushed out can cool off enough that the chick insde can die. Then, that egg gets pushed back under her and another one gets pushed out to die. You often get very poor hatches it she cannot cover them all.

    The other problem is that it takes about 21 days for the egg to develop and hatch. If eggs are added late, they don't get the full 21 days, so a developing egg can be abandoned when she takes her living already hatched chicks off the nest. Gloves and long sleeve shirts or jackets can make it easier to look under a hen that defends her nest. You can either raise her up to look under her or, probably easier, remove her from the nest and put her down. She may hop right back on or take advantage of the opportunity to eat, drink, and poop before returning to the nest.

    The other basic possibility is to isolate her from the flock so no other hen can get to her nest to lay an egg. We all have different set-ups and circumstances, but what you are looking for is a place you can lock her into so she cannot go back to her old nest. She needs a nest, food and water, and room to get off the nest to go poop. It needs to be predator proof. You can totally move her to a different area, fix something in the coop, or even build an enclosure around her current nest.

    The big risk if you move her is that she might not be broody any more. If you move her, it is best to move her at night using as little light and commotion as possible. I find it useful if the new nest is kind of dark, or at least not in the direct light. Id seems to help if you can lock her in a dark nest the day after you move her. That may sound cruel, but its not. A broody normally stays on the nest practically all day anyway. The dark seems to help comfort and calm her.

    If you move her, don't immediately give her the eggs you want her to hatch, but give her some fake eggs of some "sacrificial" eggs to see if she will accept her new quarters. If the eggs are not that valuable, you can give them to her, just realize you might lose them if she decides to not accept her new location. Most of the time you can successfully move a broody, but there are no guarantees.

    Hope this helps a bit. Good luck!!!
     
  3. lynnemabry

    lynnemabry Chillin' With My Peeps

    141
    1
    101
    Jul 24, 2010
    Beautiful Lake County
    Quote:Ridgerunner, I could not have said it better.

    Just want to add that I think a brood is the easiest way to grow your flock. mama takes care of everything.
     
  4. bloom chicks

    bloom chicks Chillin' With My Peeps

    373
    1
    103
    Jun 6, 2011
    FL
    Thank you very much.

    After I wrote the 1st post I went out to check on her and she was off the nest. So I guess she isn't broody. [​IMG] When or if she truely goes broody I would like to be able to keep her in the coop with the other chickens. I do have a dog crate that I could put her in if I have too.

    I do collect the eggs pretty much as soon as they get off the nest.

    When collecting the eggs for a broody where should I keep them and how long is the egg good for?
     
  5. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

    19,956
    3,122
    476
    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    This article is mainly about using incubators but storing eggs for incubation is the same whether for a broody or an incubator. This gives better detail about that that I will.

    Texas A&M Incubation site
    http://gallus.tamu.edu/library/extpublications/b6092.pdf

    Roughly, they are pretty good for two weeks if you store them in good conditions with the pointy side down. You do need to start turning them within a week to keep the yolk centered. Don't get too bent out of shape about storing them in perfect conditions, especially temperature and humidity, just do the best you can. A lot of us don't have perfect conditions and still do pretty well.
     
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2011
  6. bloom chicks

    bloom chicks Chillin' With My Peeps

    373
    1
    103
    Jun 6, 2011
    FL
    Awesome! Thank you so much for your help.

    I was just curious on how some of you store your eggs before giving them to a broody hen? Such as a special place or container. Do you guys start gathering as soon as you have a broody?
     
  7. SarniaTricia

    SarniaTricia Chillin' With My Peeps

    Thank you Ridgerunner
    I have a hen I think is broody, I will check later tonight and see if she roosts...
    I have a breeder in the are and I am thinking about placing some eggs under her. I want chicks, but I think a nice broody hen would be the perfect way to get them.
    A. stays in the nest box at night
    B. growls and makes a fuss when you get eggs from under her.

    Anything else I should look for?
    Thanks
    Patricia
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by