Broody Orpington and,.. (now changed to flock integration)...


11 Years
Feb 6, 2010
Orange County
hi all,
It's been a little while since I've been on here.
I guess that says that all has been going well, and the flock has been healthy and happy.

As you may remember, I'm new to chickens, and this is our first small flock of 6 hens. No roosters.
All the birds are standard hatchery birds that are now 1 week shy of being 8 months old.
For the past 2 months we have been getting 4 to 6 eggs a day, pretty much everyday.

My BO has apparently gone Broody and has been staying in one of the 3 nesting boxes for the past two or three days.
(she has choosen the center box of the three boxes)
I have removed all eggs from the nesting boxes daily, and have removed 1 egg a day from under her for the last 3 days.
Yesterday and the day before were not to bad, and she just chattered at bit while I gently picked her up and retreived the eggs.

Today was a bit of a different story. when I went to get todays egg from under her, she got ALL bent out of shape, and was fully intent on telling me to get lost!
Ruffled feathers, open beak, chittering at me, screaming like no tommorow, pecking at me, and basically just not being very happy about it at all.

So I need to know if there is anything that I should be concerned about or do differently with her.
the eggs are not fertile, and with winter coming not too far away, I'm not planning on buying any fertile eggs for her to sit on and hatch.

Should I continue to remove the eggs daily from under her ?
Will she come out of the nesting box to eat and drink when she needs to ?
With her sitting in the center box, of 3 connected boxes, (3 boxes side by side), will she be the cause, or will she prevent the other 5 hens from laying in the boxes next to her ?
How long will she stay broody if I continue to retreive the eggs each day?
(i'm not sure if she has continued to lay, or if she HAS gotten out of the box, and these ae some of the other girls eggs)
But I THINK these are still all her eggs.

I do have two wooden eggs in each nesting box, so that means there is 2 wooden eggs under her as well.

I dont really have a way to seperate her from the rest of the girls, due to the coop is only a 4' x 8' coop, and it is inside the 12' x 24' pen.

Food and water are available 24/7 both inside the coop, and out in the pen.

Is there anything special, that I need to be doing, or will she eventually "just get over it", and re-join the rest of the girls.

btw- she wouldn't even come ou of the nesting box when my wife brought out their nightly treats of kitchen shavings, (lettuce ends, kale, apple peels, etc.) from my wifes nightly dinner salad.
ALL the girls usually come RUNNING to the pen door when they know their treats are coming.
But "Goldie" has stayed inside the coop, on the nesting box, at treat time for the last 3 days, and as far as I know, she stays there all day.

Any and all advise will be greatly appreciated.

Thanks for reading,
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I'm not a fan of "breaking" broody hens. Are there any feed stores around that still have chicks? Could you pick up a couple of chicks for her, since you're not willing to let her sit on fertile eggs?

It's still early enough in the season in most places in the U.S. to raise up chicks, if it's not worth the 3 weeks of incubating eggs.
I suppose I might be able to still get a couple of chicks,... but wouldn't that come with another host of issues to contend with?

Such as there really isn't a convienent, (read safe, and warm, and dry), place to house them away from the other hens.
Wouldn't the other hens pick on/peck at, the chicks when the broody hen was/is feeding or dustbathing?
Can they all live together in peace and harmony?
and what about some of the other questions in the first post?

here's a pic of the nesting boxes. She is broody in the middle one.
Will this be a problem for the other hens to continue laying?
will the broody hen try to "run off" the other hens if they try to approach the other 2 nesting boxes?

I'll try to get some pics tommorow of her sitting in the center box...




Those boxes are awesome! I would have never thought of that. If you do not want her to brood, just stick her in a broody jail. Basically a wire cage with food and water. It should only take a few days and she should forget being broody. No telling how long it will be before she decides to brood again, hopefully not until spring.
You're in Orange county. It doesn't get very cold there. (at least not by our standards up here) Your run is secure enough, you could put her and her babies in a dog crate in the run for a few days, then let them mingle with the flock and keep an eye out to make sure they don't have any problems. Momma will protect the babies. My broody has gone after the dog through the wire.
Haven't had time to check the local feed stores to see if any chicks are still available.
(In-laws due to arrive from out of town, and trying to get stuff ready for them).

But I really don't want any more chickens right now. Maybe add about 4 more to the flock next spring, but that's about it.

This morning I checked on her, and she was still in the same box.
I do not think she is coming out at all.
I removed the one real egg, and two wooden eggs from under her, and there is nothing but shavings under her.
She is still steadfast, and staying in the nesting box.
today is day 3 or 4 since she has laid any eggs.

I just want to make sure she will continure to eat and drink.

I may try to make a wire cage for her this weekend. Seems kind of drastic though.
I built the huge run for them to be able to have plenty of open space to run around.

Dang Bird !!!

So is it just a waiting game now, before she figures out that there is nothing under her?
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Well I'm happy to report that my broody Buff Orp has finally stopped broodng. She has been off the nest for almost 2 weeks now.
She also has now begun to molt, along with one of my EE's.
Well I am going to try and move to the next phase of this drawn-out saga today.
The chicks that I had tried to integrate while she was brody,(whicw did not go well), have been in a brooder box inside my daughters room.
We had tried a couple of weeks ago, to put them straight into the run with the rest of the girls, (but that didn't go well either).
They are now getting too big for the brooder box,... the room stinks even with the box getting cleaned every 2 or 3 days,... and my wife is ready to kill me.
The back yard is seperate from the Coop/run, so I am going to consider it "Neutral Ground".
It is also completely covered in weeds, that the grown chickens love to eat. (I often pull the weeds, and toss them in the run,... and they go nuts for the weeds).
So my reasoning here is,..
It's a larger area, outside of their normal territory, (Neutral ground), and is overgrown with their favorite munchie treats, (Distraction from the new comer, 3 month old chicks), and then putting the chicks in the same yard area.

My grown chickens have never been allowed outside of their 12' x 24' run, so this will be a first for them,.... (hence the "Neutral Ground" concept)
The weeded out area is approx 40' x 60', and is fenced in with only a 4' tall chain link fence. Her's a pic of the area, (The Coop/Run, where they normally live, is beyond the Orange Trees behind the swingset, and this side of the block wall, all the way in the back.).

hopefully this will provide enough distraction for the older birds, yet will allow for some level of exposure/integration between them and the 2 younger birds.
Then of course, there is the question of "How are my 2 dogs going to act about this for the day"???
Should be interesting,
Wish me luck,

Ok,... I'm off to go try this now.....
(gotta get those "Chicks", out of that room TODAY )
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Sounds like a good plan, keep us updated. My babies free range with my older hens for awhile to get to know each other, too. Mama usually stops protecting them when they are 6 weeks old or so, and the younger ones learn to "submit" to the pecking order. In your yard they will have lots of room to run and hide if things were to get intense which they probably won't, for the reasons you outlined. (Love your coop, btw.)
OH! By the way, what are you using for nestboxes? What are the dimensions and where did you get them? I'm thinking of using something similar for some new birds this spring.

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