Broody Starving?

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by ClareScifi, Jun 6, 2011.

  1. ClareScifi

    ClareScifi Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My broody chicken under the house is not getting off her nest. The last 2 days I've placed a saucer of water and sprinkled food near the narrow opening by where I think her nest is. I've seen her beak and heard her make a few soft clucking noises those past 2 days, but today I haven't seen or heard a thing and the food and water doesn't seem to have been touched.

    I am worried. How long would it take for a broody chicken to starve to death?

    I have read that you shouldn't put food and water near their nest because they'll foul the nest and they need to get off it for exercise or their joints will go bad. But she was not coming out at all and I felt it was important for her to get some nourishment.

    I can't get under the house. There is no way to do so without tearing up the structure, and it is actually my neighbor's house, though I share a part of it.

    Do you think she might be dead? The eggs are unfertilized. I had tried to get fencing around the bottom of the house, but the neighbor decided he didn't want it. So now there is nothing I can do. He's away for another week on vacation, and I'm afraid he'll come home to the smell of a dead chicken under his living room floor.

    All suggestions will be appreciated. Does anyone know what percentage of broody hens die of starvation on the nest? She is a Plymouth Barred Rock, 15 months old.
     
  2. Lovable Chicks

    Lovable Chicks Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have a broody and moved her to her own pen Thursday night...today is the first time I can acually say I know she was off the nest to eat, drink, and dust bath. She was back on soon after. She seems fine.
     
  3. ginormous chicken

    ginormous chicken Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have a broody on a nest right now. She doesn't get off everyday. She gets off every 3 days. She is spoiled because I give her food and water on the nest. I know some say you shouldn't do that. She has NEVER spoiled her nest. She gets off to do her thing and crawls right back on. But she doesn't leave for food and water for 3 days at a time. Can you get a flashlight and see if she is under there and alive?
     
  4. ClareScifi

    ClareScifi Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My flashlight isn't bright enough. Maybe I can get bigger lantern batteries and try that. There is no way to shine a light close enough to really see. I have to scrunch my body up at weird angles under the wooden steps to get her food and water in the right spot, and shining a flashlight has to be done from a much farther distance. I'm too old for this worry and stress....

    If only they had fenced in the porch at the bottom as I had requested. I even bought the materials. I should have just gone ahead and done it myself.

    She used to be half broody. Went under the porch in November, near Thanksgiving, but stayed only 1 night. She's been under there about 3 days total so far, and I've seen her eat both yesterday and the day before, seeing her beak only. But nothing today. If I moved the food and water out from under the porch do you think she'd finally come out and I could get her in the coop?

    When she was in the coop with her sister, before going fully broody, she'd sleep on top of her sister. So she must have really strong broody hormones, to want to keep her breast so warm at night that she was willing to sleep atop her sister (and her sister put up with it so nicely). :>)

    All this is making me so nervous. I'm not cut out for chickens.

    Clare
     
  5. Sunny Side Up

    Sunny Side Up Count your many blessings...

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    My personal opinion is that almost 100% of broody hens will have enough sense to do what is necessary to keep themselves well. They're really not expending much energy just setting, so don't need to eat/drink/poop as much as usual. I know there have been reports of broodies starving themselves to death, and I wonder if they didn't have other issues, like an undetected mite infestation that sapped their strength.

    But this hen needs to be moved, and have her broody spell broken, or you'll have the smell of rotten eggs under your house. Is there a small reliable kid you could get to squeeze in there and get her & the eggs out?
     
  6. ClareScifi

    ClareScifi Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks for your posting, Sunny.

    I have no children, unfortunately. My chickens are my children. I can't think of anyone who would lend me a little kid to go under the house, who might get pecked by my hen... I wish I could.

    I am worried she might have mites or get a parasite infestation under there, in the dark.

    I just spotted the nest eggs under the house porch a few weeks ago. There are dozens of them. I had looked and looked for them previously and not seen them, only suspecting she had laid under there, but there they were. I think these must have rolled out a bit into view, after she laid more eggs.

    I think she and her sister must have laid many of them under there last fall, when I thought they'd stopped laying due to the cooler weather. Weirdly, none of them have stunk at all. I dug a few out the other day that must be pretty old. They float, but they don't stink. And some have been broken, and they don't stink, either? So strange.

    I did see some yolkish looking stuff on her beak the other day. I assumed she'd accidentally broken an egg under there.
     
  7. stubbornhill

    stubbornhill Chillin' With My Peeps

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    ClareScifi, boy that is a tough one. If the eggs are unfertile and super old to boot. She could just sit there for a very long time if you aren't able to get her off. Is there any way to get a long handle rake or broom under there to hopefully disrupt her? Maybe put some favorite treat (yogurt, scrambled eggs) close to the exit so that she can smell them and then maybe come out? Hopefully you could watch and when she does, put something behind her so she can't get back in there. I think that I personally would put the food and water outside of the exit, but again close enough so that she will see it and or smell it. Keep us posted!
     
  8. Sunny Side Up

    Sunny Side Up Count your many blessings...

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    Sometimes old eggs just dry up instead of rotting. Perhaps you could wait until after dark, when she'll be more oblivious, and try to poke her off the nest & out from underneath. Maybe you could devise a hook on the end of a pole to catch her by the leg, or duct-tape a butterfly net to the end of a long stick.

    Or contact your local Boy Scout troop and invite them over for a BBQ, and offer a prize for the kid who can rescue the hen. Maybe there's a merit badge someone could earn for it.
     
  9. ClareScifi

    ClareScifi Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I did try poking a long stick under there the other day when I couldn't find her, but she didn't make a sound, she didn't try to peck at it, and it didn't disrupt her a bit. It wasn't until later when I put food by the very narrow opening that I saw her beak and knew she was still alive. There is not enough space to bring her out with a rake, and I'm not sure where the entry to the space she is in is located? I think she got in midway under the house and walked quite a way to her nest.

    I might go buy some strawberries and put some near the opening. She loves them. Then I could put the rest farther out, and she could maybe see her sister eating them? It just might work. Thanks for the idea.
     

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