Broody suggestions?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Mortimer, May 1, 2009.

  1. Mortimer

    Mortimer Out Of The Brooder

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    May 6, 2008
    SW of Wichita, KS
    Hello all,

    This week we got our first broody. She's a BR about 10 months old. The kids call her "Stripey." My 6-year-old daughter was the one to notice, actually, she's been out gathering the eggs lately and said on Tuesday "I think one of our hens is trying to hatch us some chicks! She's been sitting in the box since yesterday!"

    I monitored for another couple days and sure enough she's steadfast in one of the nestboxes all day. But that was the problem -- she kept switching throughout the day. Get up, stretch her legs, take a drink, pick another clutch of eggs to sit on.

    We have wire-framed nestbox with six compartments. This hen is so devoted she stuck her head through the wire and was trying desperately to roll an egg from the adjacent box, through the wires, into hers so she could sit on it! Had to help the poor gal get her head out of the wire.

    We do want to have her hatch us some chicks so I decided today to get her own place setup. We have some 10-week-old pullets and bantams I've been keeping in a separate area of the coop, decided to let them into the flock today and put the broody in there by herself. A little young to be introducing to the older ones but they are getting big fast -- some of the pullets are already nearly the size of my RIR's already. I'm a bit worried about the little banties but I'll be sure to give them plenty of extra feed for awhile so they're not competing with the bigger ones for food.

    I did not refrigerate any eggs collected yesterday and today, and hand-picked ten well-shaped, normal-sized clean ones for her to sit on. We've got four active roosters and twenty hens, hopefully they are all fertile. I moved the broody after dark tonight to her new place, fresh & clean, and sat her in a wooden nestbox there on top of the ten eggs. Glad I wore gloves she was pretty cranky about me picking her up to move her. It wasn't more than a few seconds and she was rolling them around to get them situated underneath her! Once she got "settled" there was still one sticking out the side, I just grabbed it and left her with nine, figured maybe ten was too many for her to cover? Amazing how "fat" they can spread out when sitting on a clutch!

    I took the five she was sitting on in the old nestbox and candled them just to see how they were doing, knowing they were probably no good since she kept swapping boxes throughout the day. Two blood spots and three looked undeveloped. Strangely enough there was dried yolk/eggwhite all over them but no broken shells to be found anywhere. We have one egg eater in the flock (haven't identified her yet) I think she must have gotten after one of them while the broody was gone.

    Anyway, sorry for the long post but we're excited to have a broody cook us up some fresh chicks, just wanted to tell my story and look for any suggestions? She has her own food (chick starter) and water in with her of course. Does it sound like I'm doing everything right? This forum has been invaluable for research on this type of thing, wouldn't have known the first thing to do about this without BYC!
     
    Last edited: May 1, 2009
  2. gritsar

    gritsar Cows, Chooks & Impys - OH MY!

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    Glad you moved her. Sounds like you are doing everything right. My only question would be why you are feeding her chick starter? It would probably be better that she be on her regular feed and then after the chicks hatch you can create a creep feeder - basically an sturdy box with a hole cut in the side of it only big enough for newborn chicks to get in. Put the chick starter inside the box so only they have access to it.
    Good luck with your broody. [​IMG]
     
  3. rancher hicks

    rancher hicks Chicken Obsessed

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    Feb 28, 2009
    Syracuse, NY
    I hate to sound stupid but what's a BR. I'm old I forget.
     
  4. Mortimer

    Mortimer Out Of The Brooder

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    May 6, 2008
    SW of Wichita, KS
    Quote:LOL -- BR = Barred Rock. The kids call her "stripey" since, you know, anything that needs a name gets called "what it does or looks like" plus "ey"

    i.e. Frog's name is Hoppy, Dog's name is Runny, Fish's name is Swimmy [​IMG]

    Quote:I read somewhere on here, I think, that chick starter was a good choice for broody mothers. More protein than layer feed, and they don't need the calcium since they're not laying eggs?
     
    Last edited: May 1, 2009
  5. gritsar

    gritsar Cows, Chooks & Impys - OH MY!

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    Quote:Okay, sounds good to me.
     
  6. chicken_ladyGA

    chicken_ladyGA Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 18, 2008
    Chatsworth,Georgia
    Im having the same thing happen . I have a broody hen who is switching clutches every day . One day all day in # 2 , next # 3 back to @ 2 . Do you suggest I remove all clutches but one ? I am encouraging broody behavior so Im not gathering every day . Thanks for all ya'lls help !
     
  7. gritsar

    gritsar Cows, Chooks & Impys - OH MY!

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    Quote:I would seperate her. One nest.
     
  8. Mortimer

    Mortimer Out Of The Brooder

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    May 6, 2008
    SW of Wichita, KS
    *Update*

    So far so good! It was our 10th anniversary the day after I set her up in her own pen so my neighbor took care of her while we were out of town. Not that she needed much with a full feeder and 3gals of water all to herself for 4 days.

    Candled them at day 5 and saw what looked like good progress, no blood spots, all looked to be developing.

    Noticed on day 8 there were two off to the side, not underneath her anymore. Decided on day 10 to candle again and grab the two rejects. Not sure if she kicked them out on purpose (quitters) or if they died because of being kicked out. They were cold and had been out from under her for a couple days. Maybe 9 was too many? I cracked open the rejects and they were partially developed.

    Anyway, we have 7 wriggling embryos in eggs, she seems to be doing a fine job. Will probably leave her alone until hatch time unless she kicks one out again. Frankly I'm VERY pleased and surprised that every single egg was fertile, I figured at least a couple would still be clear. Guess the roo's are keeping themselves busy. 4 roos to 23 hens works!

    The little kids (daughter:6, son:4) are loving it. It was one thing to incubate & hatch our own, completely another to watch it done as it was meant to be done by a mother hen.
     
    Last edited: May 12, 2009

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