Broody Hens

austrolover1

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Dec 14, 2015
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Alright, I am just wondering what types of hens go broody the most often, because I have Austrolorps and I have not seen much broodiness yet! I have heard that Silkies and Orpingtons are good broodies and mothers, but I'm still looking for advice about which to put in my flock.
 

donrae

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Silkies have great reputations as broodies. Orpingtons from a hatchery can be more hit or miss as the hatcheries don't select for this trait, they select more for egg production.

Other classic broody breeds are Cochins, both bantam and full sized. Game hens make great mommas. Dark Cornish are supposed to be good broodies. I think Brahmas are reasonably broody also.

Even with hatchery birds that traditionally aren't broody, I've found the second year is the highest chance of getting a hen to set. Once I started keeping my birds that long, I got more broodies from hatchery birds like Rocks and Welsummers. So if your Aussies are young, you may still get a broody or two this coming year.
 

centrarchid

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I second the gamehens. They are also better than average at rearing the chicks. They can be a bit aggressive to other hens depending on stock and to you if not well tamed growing up. They are best considered to be multiple year incubators that are likely to outlive the balance of your flock.
 

austrolover1

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Dec 14, 2015
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Thanks! I have heard of cochins being broody but the leg-feathering is the down-fall. Where I live, there has been a LOT of rain and I know feathers on the legs and rain can be a bad mix. I am going to look into getting a game hen though. I have been looking into those lately and after what you have told me I will definitely research more.
 

donrae

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Oh, I hear you on the mud. I'd always limited my feather footed birds to a few bantam Cochins, until for some reason this last year I think I got dropped on my head.....I have a pair of Faverolles, a light Brahma, and ten feather legged Marans. Plus more bantam Cochins someone gave me, and a pair of silkies.....and all their feet look pretty pitiful. Most of them will be sold this coming summer, I'm not overwintering feather legged birds again.

I think in a mixed flock, game hens would be a good choice. Something like silkies can get picked on cause they're so docile, but no one's going to pick on most game hens. they're also great at raising chicks in the flock, again no one messes with their babies.
 

song of joy

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I've also wondered about game hens, as I'm considering various options for broodies.

Game hens are pretty small. Is that a problem with much larger roosters? That is, will the rooster injure such a small hen during breeding due to the weight difference?

Also, how many large-size eggs can a game hen successfully incubate?
 

oldhenlikesdogs

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I wanted to mention that breeding behind your birds can and will affect broodiness. I have purchased multiple hens from a show 4H breeder supplier and everyone of his hens will go repeatedly broody, where my hatchery hens are less prone to, so perhaps seeking a particular breeder is more important than breed.
 

centrarchid

Crossing the Road
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I've also wondered about game hens, as I'm considering various options for broodies.  

Game hens are pretty small.  Is that a problem with much larger roosters?  That is, will the rooster injure such a small hen during breeding due to the weight difference?  

Also, how many large-size eggs can a game hen successfully incubate?  


Most gamehens are heavier than 4 lbs with many approaching 5 lbs. Are you confusing Old English Game Bantams with games?
 

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