Broody Hens

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by agreen1113, Jan 17, 2014.

  1. agreen1113

    agreen1113 New Egg

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    Hi all!! I have been a long time lurker, just never posted before......

    So I have had 5 hens for about 3 years for egg production only.....now I have ordered 14 more day-old chicks for delivery in April. I have 2 EE roosters already that are approx 8 months old (sold to me as hens!!)

    So my main questions is what hens are traditionally more broody then others. I would love to try to hatch my own chicks with a broody hen, but don't really know what kinds I would have better luck with becoming broody in the future.

    Thanks!!!
     
  2. howfunkyisurchicken

    howfunkyisurchicken Overrun With Chickens

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    Silkies, Cochins (you can get standard or bantam size) and Old English Games (again, standard and bantam) are all very reliable for going broody and being great mothers. I have Silkies, and they live to hatch eggs and raise babies. My Cochins (both sizes) and Old English Game bantams were the same.

    EEs can go broody, but not as reliably as the other breeds I mentioned. Mine always seemed to decide to brood after someone else started sitting. I've had broody Wyandottes and Orpingtons as well.
    If you Google feathersite, there is a whole list of chicken breeds. It also shows how well each breed lays, if they're known for broodiness and which climates they're best suited for.
    Good luck [​IMG]
     
  3. Fentress

    Fentress Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Howfunky,

    I know that hens can go broody at any time of the year. I worked with some heavy breeds last year, they waited till early summer to go broody. I would like to use broodies to hatch out chicks as part of a breeding program, but coordinating the set up of breeding pens with the timing of broody's is going to be an issue. Ideally, I would like a core group that would go broody within a few weeks of each other in early spring, March/April timeframe. Any suggestions in terms of a breed that would do that, reliably on a seasonal basis? thanks
     
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2014
  4. ChickenCurt

    ChickenCurt Chillin' With My Peeps

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    None of mine brood on my time but theirs.
    Cochins were my broodiest.
    Buff Brahmas.
    Orpintons.
    Black Jersey Giants.
    Did have 2 RIR's get broody but 2 out of nearly 500 isn't good odds ;)
    Best advice I can give is to watch for the signs then put the broody hen into a brooding pen.
     
  5. howfunkyisurchicken

    howfunkyisurchicken Overrun With Chickens

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    Probably Silkies or Cochins. If you get standard Cochins you can stuff a ton of eggs under them at one time. They're very large. Silkies only come in bantam size, but they're supreme incubators and mothers.
    My Silkies usually sit as soon as the weather gets warm and then its a never ending cycle of sit, hatch, raise, repeat until the days get short again. And sometimes they don't even stop then. I've had broody, moulting Silkies in fall and chicks running around in the snow.
    I only had 7 Silkie hens this past spring and summer, but they still managed to hatch nearly 50 chicks between them. And that was combined with me getting fed up with broodies and locking them out of they coop when they'd decide it was time to sit.

    If you plan to free range, Cochins might be a better option since they can see. My Silkies stay in an enclosed run. Their crests impair their vision, they only get supervised free range time. Anyway, lots of breeds go broody. What you're looking for is a frequent brooder. Silkies and Cochins are just that, they're my top choice for broodies for sure.
     
    1 person likes this.
  6. Fentress

    Fentress Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks. I do free range which makes it even more complicated, having to pull out breeders from the flock and set them up in response to a hen that has gone broody. My best bet is to set up the pens and just wait for the broodies, which is why I will need a very broody breed.

    Thanks again.
     
  7. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

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    Another thing to look for in a hen is strain. The tendency to go broody is an inherited trait. None of them come with guarantees, but if a hen comes from a flock where a lot of hens go broody, she probably has those genetics. If she comes from a flock where the hens don’t go broody a lot, she probably won’t either.

    That’s why the decorative breeds are more likely to go broody that the production breeds. A broody hen is still pretty, so there is no reason to get rid of her if she goes broody and quits laying. However, a broody production hen is not laying eggs so she is costing money for feed and requires special handling. They have incubators and brooders to raise chicks. If you make going broody a fatal offense, after a few generations you have a flock where most of the hens don’t go broody very much.

    There is no doubt a Silkie is more likely than a Rhode Island Red to go broody, but if you can get her from a flock that is known to be really broody, you increase your chances much more. And if you are hatching your own to get replacement pullets, you can improve the chances for a broody even more by hatching eggs that come from a hen that has gone broody. This applies to which roosters you keep too not just which pullets.
     

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