Broody Hens in Winter?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by DraigAthar, Nov 6, 2011.

  1. DraigAthar

    DraigAthar Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jan 1, 2011
    Plainfield, NH
    Hi all!

    Have you ever had problems with hens going broody in winter? I live in NH, and I have 8 laying hens of assorted breeds, no rooster so no fertile eggs to hatch. THREE of my eight hens have gone broody! Which is an issue since there are only three nest boxes. One of them, a salmon faverolle, has been broody for over a week. We keep kicking her off the nest (multiple times a day) and she keeps going back. The other two, (one a silver laced wyandotte, the other a gold laced wyandotte) both just started the broodiness. It just seems odd that so many of them would would go broody as the weather is turning cold. We've had snow already, and the nights are in the teens. Any idea why they would pick now to go broody? And any tips on breaking them up? Apparently just kicking them off isn't going to cut it. We can probably build an isolation cage, but not for three at once!

    Thanks for any advice!

    Amy
     
  2. gritsar

    gritsar Cows, Chooks & Impys - OH MY!

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    [​IMG]

    If you can't isolate each in a broody breaking cage, I would just keep throwing them off the nest. It's a pain yes, but necessary. Some folks just let them continue to set without giving them eggs, reasoning that they will quit on their own after awhile, but I don't like doing that. They lose too much weight from not eating regularly. I have had a broody in February (our coldest month), she did fine with hatching and raising chicks.
     
  3. HorseFeatherz NV

    HorseFeatherz NV Eggink Chickens

    [​IMG]


    To stop a broody (not that I have ever tried any of these things - I just give them fertile eggs) - you can put the hen in a wire cage, up off the ground - so air circulates around her, no bedding - just food and water. Most, from what I have read, take about 3 days to "break".

    Some will stop or give up if you just keep tossing them from the nest.


    You could let them brood an empty nest - just be sure that they get enough food to eat (I put a small bowl of food/water in the box with the broody hens).


    You could get a dozen fertile eggs (put an add on CL) and split them between your girls and let them do what they do best - brood and raise a family. I have birds go broody and hatch clutches year round - momma does a fantastic job of teaching and caring for her chicks.


    You could order some chicks (pullets) and try slipping them under your broody girls.



    Should you decide on letting them brood - I have found the small plastic dog kennels/crates work fantastic for a broody and once hatched - a broody and her clutch.
     
  4. DraigAthar

    DraigAthar Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jan 1, 2011
    Plainfield, NH
    Thanks for the tips! I don't have room for more chickens right now (we'd have to build another coop!) so giving them eggs to hatch isn't really an option. Though I would LOVE to let a broody momma raise a clutch, because who doesn't love chicks??? But yeah, expanding the flock isn't in the cards at the moment, so I have to break the broodies up. I was reading other threads on this, too, and the break-up cage sounds like a good idea. I told Brian (hubby) about broody cages this morning, and he's out in the garage building one for me right now. How's that for service? Haha!

    Amy
     
  5. HorseFeatherz NV

    HorseFeatherz NV Eggink Chickens

    Quote:[​IMG]

    Now there is a man who wants no more chickens.


    [​IMG]
     
  6. CMV

    CMV Flock Mistress

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    I feel your pain. I have 2 chronic broodies that are pretty useless this time of year. The wire bottomed cage is the way to go. Some good air circulation under the nether regions tends to snap these girls out of their stupor... for a while anyway. They will likely return to their broody state further into the season. You may consider letting them hatch a clutch in the spring. In the meantime I recommend getting some more nesting boxes. At least one more to keep the peace. Come spring those girls are all likely to go broody again on you, so best be prepared for that eventuality.

    Good luck. And [​IMG] from a fellow New Englander.
     
  7. DraigAthar

    DraigAthar Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Plainfield, NH
    Quote:Haha! I think he'd rather build me a break-up cage than a whole new coop. [​IMG]

    Amy
     
  8. DraigAthar

    DraigAthar Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jan 1, 2011
    Plainfield, NH
    Quote:Thanks! And hi! What part of NH? I'm in Plainfield!

    Amy
     

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