Broody hens

rynee914

In the Brooder
Jan 14, 2020
9
34
25
Hello all. Few questions. I have two blue laced wyandottes currently sitting on eggs. We started with 12 a piece. Now, one has 6; the other 2. They have broken several, moved to another nesting box with eggs recently laid from our other hens (I moved them back to the correct box), and pooped in their nests! Some of the broken eggs were stinky and messy! I changed bedding and cleaned momma hen as best as I could. If the eggs were entirely covered in nastiness, I tried to clean some, but did not scrub. We had a red hen set last summer, no issues at all. These two will be the death of me! The first hen, day 21 was Wednesday. As of today, no pipping or chirping can be seen or heard. I candled Wednesday night and some I could only see an air sac, one or so I could see blood vessels. It is chilly here in Texas (50s day, high 30s to 40s at night), so I'm concerned with how long its taking to hatch. The second hens day 21 is Monday. And suggestions/advice? Should I be more patient?
 

rynee914

In the Brooder
Jan 14, 2020
9
34
25
Hi there, hope you are enjoying BYC! :frow

This is exactly the reason I WON'T let 2 hens sit together. While sometimes it works out... You can see what happens other times... Broken eggs and a big nightmare. Consider breaking one or the other next time.

Yes, I do suggest being patient. :fl:jumpy:jumpy
How do you break a broody hen? This batch I believe are not going to survive. Should I break them or put more eggs under them to try again? I could always move the two hens to a separate coop from flock. I'm disappointed at the loss. :(
 

EggSighted4Life

Crossing the Road
Apr 9, 2016
12,224
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California's Redwood Coast
How do you break a broody hen? This batch I believe are not going to survive. Should I break them or put more eggs under them to try again? I could always move the two hens to a separate coop from flock. I'm disappointed at the loss. :(
I would NOT add more eggs after they've already sat this long and have them set for several more weeks and lose condition. DO give them a couple extra days or at least candle and make sure your eggs are quitters before ditching them.

If you really want chicks this go around... I would pick up a few from the feed store UNDER 6 days old` (most will be at least 2-3 days old just from shipping before arriving at the feed store)... younger is better, and tuck them under the hen at night. I have successfully adopted lots of chicks to broody mamas! Doing that allows me to try other breeds and mostly avoid getting extra cockerels.

To me it was the two hens that caused the problem and not the flock. Separating them from each other is what I suggest. So moving both of them may not correct anything... and MIGHT just break them as that is the key to breaking... locking away fro their chosen nest, long enough their body/belly cools down as the broody hormones subside. If you put either in another coop to finish hatching... be sure they get back mingling with the flock ASAP so the chick introduction can go smoothly while she is still protecting them.

If you aren't ready for chicks... BOTH hens WILL go broody again in the future and you could just plan ahead for that time. Check out post # 16 in the thread link, that kennel is what I do for broody breaking, with the exception during nice weather I use an open bottom kennel on the grass for day time...

The feed stores in my area start getting chicks the first week of Feb. That's still a ways off to me.

Anything decide to hatch since your last post? :pop:fl
 

rynee914

In the Brooder
Jan 14, 2020
9
34
25
I would NOT add more eggs after they've already sat this long and have them set for several more weeks and lose condition. DO give them a couple extra days or at least candle and make sure your eggs are quitters before ditching them.

If you really want chicks this go around... I would pick up a few from the feed store UNDER 6 days old` (most will be at least 2-3 days old just from shipping before arriving at the feed store)... younger is better, and tuck them under the hen at night. I have successfully adopted lots of chicks to broody mamas! Doing that allows me to try other breeds and mostly avoid getting extra cockerels.

To me it was the two hens that caused the problem and not the flock. Separating them from each other is what I suggest. So moving both of them may not correct anything... and MIGHT just break them as that is the key to breaking... locking away fro their chosen nest, long enough their body/belly cools down as the broody hormones subside. If you put either in another coop to finish hatching... be sure they get back mingling with the flock ASAP so the chick introduction can go smoothly while she is still protecting them.

If you aren't ready for chicks... BOTH hens WILL go broody again in the future and you could just plan ahead for that time. Check out post # 16 in the thread link, that kennel is what I do for broody breaking, with the exception during nice weather I use an open bottom kennel on the grass for day time...

The feed stores in my area start getting chicks the first week of Feb. That's still a ways off to me.

Anything decide to hatch since your last post? :pop:fl
Thanks for the info. At this point, its probably best to let the hens rest and re-nourish themselves. I found a dead chick last night and the broken shell with blood. Not sure what happened. Otherwise, No hatching. No response from tapping on the eggs. Candled last night and all I can see is air sack and darkness. One eggs darkness doesn't even fill up the entire area. I can see clear fluids with darkness. One egg I just checked seems to be seeping fluid. So I think its a goner. Not sure why they all didn't make it, other than it being chilly here at night and the momma hens getting nests confused with eggs that aren't theirs.

So to break them, should I move them to the separate coop for a couple of days? Just so they won't continue to sit on nothing?
 

EggSighted4Life

Crossing the Road
Apr 9, 2016
12,224
15,354
762
California's Redwood Coast
So to break them, should I move them to the separate coop for a couple of days? Just so they won't continue to sit on nothing?
You can try that. If they are mad and pace... they may break. If they are happy and settle into a nest then they won't. Otherwise whatever you can do to keep them away from the nest without causing other layers issues... no bedding to tuck in and keep their belly warm, put them on roost at night if you don't have a kennel to use. Be persistent... because while they may seem stubborn... they are just following their hormones and not actually in control of this behavior.

Nest hopping is definitely a problem for good hatches. If one does it less than the other, maybe she will be your best hatcher. It could partly be due to inexperience on the hens part as well.

Each time is a new experience, even with repeat hens. We just do our best to adapt. :fl
 

rynee914

In the Brooder
Jan 14, 2020
9
34
25
You can try that. If they are mad and pace... they may break. If they are happy and settle into a nest then they won't. Otherwise whatever you can do to keep them away from the nest without causing other layers issues... no bedding to tuck in and keep their belly warm, put them on roost at night if you don't have a kennel to use. Be persistent... because while they may seem stubborn... they are just following their hormones and not actually in control of this behavior.

Nest hopping is definitely a problem for good hatches. If one does it less than the other, maybe she will be your best hatcher. It could partly be due to inexperience on the hens part as well.

Each time is a new experience, even with repeat hens. We just do our best to adapt. :fl
Thank you so much. I will probably move them to a kennel tonight without hay. Hopefully they break quickly. We will try again in the future when they become broody.
 

rynee914

In the Brooder
Jan 14, 2020
9
34
25
It usually takes a few days minimum. Outside time is good for them too. :)
well, they just sit on the ground when taken out of their nest. I found another seeping egg today. Figure it was bad, so I broke it open and MAN IT SMELLED TERRIBLE!! There was of course a dead baby chick inside. I guess the nest swapping and confusion on which pile of eggs to sit on made these too cold. I'm going get rid of the rest of the eggs and try to break these hens and hope they get broody again.

Thanks for all your help.
 

aart

Chicken Juggler!
Premium member
7 Years
Nov 27, 2012
72,491
75,952
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SW Michigan
My Coop
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Crate breaking has worked best for me.

My experience goes about like this: After her setting for 3 days and nights in the nest (or as soon as I know they are broody), I put her in a wire dog crate (24"L x 18"W x 21"H) with smaller wire on the bottom but no bedding, set up on a couple of 4x4's right in the coop or run with feed and water.

I used to let them out a couple times a day, but now just once a day in the evening(you don't have to) and she would go out into the run, drop a huge turd, race around running, take a vigorous dust bath then head back to the nest... at which point I put her back in the crate. Each time her outings would lengthen a bit, eating, drinking and scratching more and on the 3rd afternoon she stayed out of the nest and went to roost that evening...event over, back to normal tho she didn't lay for another week or two. Or take her out of crate daily very near roosting time(30-60 mins) if she goes to roost great, if she goes to nest put her back in crate.

Chunk of 2x4 for a 'roost' was added to crate floor after pic was taken.
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