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Broody hens, help!!!

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by bscorpio73, Apr 22, 2011.

  1. bscorpio73

    bscorpio73 Out Of The Brooder

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    Feb 24, 2009
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    I have a broody splash marans that has been sitting on eggs about 3 weeks now. (Fertile eggs I placed under her are due to hatch next Friday). A few days ago, my black copper marans went broody. I had originally bought 8 fertile eggs, but found 14 eggs underneath the first broody bird, and split the eggs between the two birds, hoping that each will get 4 fertile eggs.

    I have 3 nesting boxes, and 7 hens (two currently broody). This morning I noticed that only two of the hens were outside. I went to look inside the coop, and this is what I saw....

    [​IMG]

    The RIR has laid, and is out in yard, and so has the blue copper marans, but the easter egger (sitting alone) is still in the box, and growled at me, like the other two broody birds. I did not think that easter eggers were broody. Now it appears I have 3 broody hens, and 4 others that need a box to lay in. Is broodiness learned, meaning, if one goes broody, the likelihood of followers is greater? I don't want to break the natural cycle, but don't know what to do.

    Any advice is greatly appreciated.
     
  2. Chihuahuamom444

    Chihuahuamom444 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    [​IMG]................I had to laugh cause mine do it all the time, who is stealing eggs, two sitting on same nest.....with mine I don't care if they are having babies or not so I just let them do their thing, I have two mommies now with just two babies, they are raising them together and 3 more sitting.....Im sure you want babies so Im sure someone else will tell you what to do. Good luck, but what a cute pic
     
  3. bscorpio73

    bscorpio73 Out Of The Brooder

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    Feb 24, 2009
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    I have been laughing all morning too, but I really don't want the other hens to stress, with no where to lay. Guess they will squeeze in and make do. LOL
     
  4. Chihuahuamom444

    Chihuahuamom444 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My two girls would either take turns sitting or both sit together, it was the custest thing and now that they have babies it is hard to tell who is the real mama, actually they don't know it but Neither is the Real mama, they have no rooster with them so I stole some from my silkie cause they were both sitting on unfertile eggs, so they are happy, both showing the babies how to eat etc, love watching them..........can you put more nest boxes in the coop?, do you think they'd be happy with that?, and then just split the eggs between them
     
  5. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    First, mark any eggs you want them to hatch, check under them daily, and remove any unmarked eggs.

    Second, read this thread, especially my post. This thread gives different people's opinions, but I think it also gives good advice on what to do whether you isolate the broody or not.

    Isolate a Broody? Thread
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/forum/viewtopic.php?id=213218

    I know you said you plan to let nature take its course, but just in case you decide you need this

    Break a Broody Thread
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/forum/viewtopic.php?pid=2176186#p2176186

    Is going broody contageous? I've never noticed that but some people on this forum certainly think it is.

    You have a lot of options.

    1. Provide more nest boxes. I'll give another thread for ideas. Milk crates, buckets, about anything can work, especially as temporary nests. You may find that they continue to lay with the others though.

    Nesting Boxes
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/forum/viewtopic.php?id=41108

    2. Break one or more of the broodies. It is an option, maybe not what you want to do.

    3. Let things go as they are. The other hens might keep laying with the broodies, so you will have to check daily anyway. I don't like this option because there is a risk, probably pretty good, that they will get in the habit of laying somewhere you don't want them to lay. This can be a hard habit to break.

    4. Prepare a separate area and move a broody there. Lock her in there so she cannot go back to the old nest. I'd suggest separate areas for each broody, since there can sometimes be problems with two or more broodies together, especially as the chicks hatch, but some people have two or more broodies together without problems. One potential problems with this is that she may decide she no longer wants to be broody if you move her. This would not be a huge problem for you since you have another broody that could take the eggs, but it is a risk.

    Before you ask. Some people successfully let broodies work together, even on the same nest or raising the chicks together. Some people have broodies together with different aged chicks with no problems. But some of the things that can happen:

    1. The two broodies might fight over the eggs or chicks, with eggs or chicks getting damaged in the process.

    2. One broody may kill the chicks that hatch under the other broody, whether or not they are sharing the same nest.

    3. Broodies can and will carry other eggs back to their nest. If you have the eggs marked so you can tell which egg goes where, you can manage this.

    4. Sometimes a broody will get confused as to which nest is hers, especially if another hen is on the nest laying an egg when she gets back from her daily constitutional. She can wind up sitting on the wrong nest with the eggs getting cold. This can also happen with just one broody.

    5. When one broody hears the chicks hatching under another broody, she may abandon her nest and go to help the other broody with the eggs or chicks, or maybe fight the other broody for the eggs or chicks.

    Again, I'll say these things do not happen each and every time. Many people keep broodies together all the time and never have any of these problems. But these things do sometimes happen.

    Hope this helps. Good luck!
     
  6. Judy

    Judy Moderator Staff Member

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    My best broody, currently, is an EE. Since it's a hormonal thing, you never know -- supposedly some breeds are broodier, but bottom line is, when one goes broody is when you learn who your broodies are. It does seem to be a bit contagious -- somehow a broody or two seems to set off the same hormonal cycle in some others.

    http://www.themodernhomestead.us/article/Broody-Hens-1.html
     
  7. Chihuahuamom444

    Chihuahuamom444 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I def think its contagious so to speak, when one of mine goes broody at least 3 or 4 more go as well, if not more
     
  8. bscorpio73

    bscorpio73 Out Of The Brooder

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    Feb 24, 2009
    North Carolina
    I am going to just leave them be for now. I have no idea which eggs are fertile or not, wish I had marked them before. The splash hen pecks me when I try to get the eggs. I don't like to bother her too much. I might try to candle them, but I want to handle them as little as possible. Since this is a long weekend, I may give it a try. All fertile eggs (8) are due to hatch at same time. I have no roo, so there is no chance any other eggs are fertile. If the third hen is actually broody, I may just divide eggs between them. I just won't be getting any eggs for the next week, unless I go mark eggs now, and collect what is laid from hereon out. I really appreciate all of the advice. I will monitor all of the behaviors, and take action as needed.

    Thanks bunches.

    April
     
  9. bscorpio73

    bscorpio73 Out Of The Brooder

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    Feb 24, 2009
    North Carolina
    I have taken all eggs out, 9 under one and 8 under the other. Have candled them and marked the fertile eggs and infertile ones differently. I put them all back in, and since all are marked, I can take out ones that have been laid since today. I don't want to take out others, as hens might wonder what happened to other eggs. I may take one out each day, until only fertile eggs are left. I will at least take them out by Thursday, before others start hatching. Seems the easter egger is not quite broody, as she has been out most of the afternoon, and the two green eggs (one laid by other easter egger) that were in the far right box were very cold when I took them out. So, they have an open box to share between the 5 of them, or they can just sit on top of each other. LOL Whatever works for them, I am okay with. Just wondered what everyone else experiences. [​IMG]

    Thanks again for all info.
     

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