Broody or Sick?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Stephine, Jun 1, 2017.

  1. Stephine

    Stephine Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 30, 2016
    Please bear with me here: I have never had a broody and want to make sure my diagnosis is correct...
    I found my favorite hen (a SS) sitting in the nest box at night a few days ago. I took her out, looked her over to make sure she wasn't injured (she has a bald patch on her back from when we still had a rooster and one of the little beasts, or maybe even she herself(?) had picked all the new little fluff feathers off of her and she had a little bloody spot that I treated with Rooster Booster Pick no more or something like that.) Her back was fine, nothing else obvious. This hen had the day before spent a lot of time right there with me when I was digging a planting hole next to their pen, fit as a fiddle, gorging on earthworms and grubs...
    So I put her on the roost, took all the eggs out of the boxes, and I was barely done when I heard a boumpf and she had hopped off the roost and was on her way to the nest again - in the dark!
    The next morning she was still there - different nest (the one she had picked initially is everyone's favorite and she is not at the top of the pecking order). I was still worried she might be sick, but she behaved differently from how I have ever seen her, she puffed out her neck feathers, lifted her tail and uhum, growled! I decided to take her up to the house and got my set up ready: a rectangular concrete mixing pan with a half xpen around it, minimal bedding, food, water, grit...
    When I picked her up she puffed up again but didn't peck me (she is my tamest hen, the one who always comes up to me and stands on my feet).
    I put her down in her new pen and found that she had actually managed to carry an egg all the way from the coop to the house with her! I took that away.
    She eagerly went to eat and drink and then just sat for a while. Since then she has been roosting on the side of the pan all day, ever once in a while eagerly eaten some food but very little overall. She looks bright and alert and puffs up and growls at anyone coming close, especially the dog, when she was never scared of him before and will walk right over his legs when they are outside together. She makes a lot of other sounds that I have never heard before, too. When she lies down she is flat as a pancake.
    Am I right to think she is broody?
    After all that roosting on the edge of the pan I thought maybe she is over it last night - put her on the roost after dark, went around to the outside access to the nest boxes and collected her right back up with the eggs to take back to the house...
    What do I do now? Just wait? Buy a wire cage? Wouldn't she cool off just as much roosting on the side of the pan?
    P.S. I don't have a rooster right now and so I can't give her eggs to hatch and I really don't need more chickens anyway...)
  2. Yes...Sounds Broody...Do you want Chicks?
  3. Mace Gill

    Mace Gill Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 26, 2017
    New Jersey
    Sounds like classic broody to me. I hear you can break it with the wire cage, but I wouldn't be able to do it. I just keep collecting the eggs and taking her out of the box. If a Few days, she'd get bored and give up.
  4. Lady of McCamley

    Lady of McCamley Chicken Obsessed

    Mar 19, 2011
    NW Oregon
    Yes, it sure sounds like she is broody.
    No, one night in time out will not break a brood, as you have witnessed.
    Leave her in minimal care with NO bedding on wire cage for at least 3 days.
  5. ECSandCCFS

    ECSandCCFS Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 23, 2013
  6. Stephine

    Stephine Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 30, 2016
    Thank you everyone very much! I am glad that you too think she is only broody. I had my other favorite hen just keel over dead one morning out of the blue, a couple of months ago, and that has made me really nervous about the rest of them.
    Thank you for the link, I will read through it.
    I am not thrilled about the wire cage method, either. I don't like the thought of putting any animal on wire floors... plus, it's another thing to buy! Maybe as a last resort...
    Thanks again! Sooooo glad she isn't sick!!!!
  7. Stephine

    Stephine Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 30, 2016
    Just one more question: is it bad for her to have a spot to roost as she does in her current set up? I am a bit puzzled that she doesn't just sit in the box, especially since I put a thin layer of bedding in there to keep down the stink (she is just off our kitchen after all) but roost on the side all day and night long... This should allow airflow to cool her underside, shouldn't it?

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