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Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by micstrachan, May 24, 2019.
Cashew is a mama!
Nothing but going thru Cashews Heart.
So Cashew still isn’t eating much and seems to be weaker. Thinking I might syringe feed her 10mL baby bird formula with a nutridrench boost, but I don’t want to traumatize her since I’d be restraining her from her chicks for a couple minutes. Thoughts?
Well, I did it. She was getting stressed out, so I only got 6mL in and stopped, but at least it’s something, and she’ll get more egg shortly.
My thinking here is.... Broodiness is a biological occurrence in the chicken. The regular duration would be the total incubation time. Since the time she became broody, and chicks arrived was a shortened period, her natural cycle of broodiness is still dragging.
So with that theory ,,, I think that broodiness is a physical condition, and not a Psychological condition,,,,, that chicken could switch off once baby chicks are running around.
Does my theory make sense???
I'm not sure,,,,, but think broodiness is brought about by hormones. Those hormones need to wear off, with a longer period of time.
Every now and again some of mine will go broody and sit in the nest. Of course to no useful purpose. I just remove them a few times daily, and place them near the feed on the ground. It is usually next to the scratch. They do snack some, and then return to an empty nest. I keep removing the eggs all the time. (they are not the broody's eggs, but other hens)
Keep giving Cashew the cooked eggs, as it is complete nutrition, and a flavor most chickens just go nutty about.
I hate to be Mr negative but I don't think this was a good idea.
Hens tend sit and hatch in the Spring in natural conditions.
A hen that is planning to sit in my experience starts increasing her food intake by up to a third in the last few days before sitting. It's one of the indications you get of a hens intention to sit before it actually happens.
In the last few days before they intend to sit as many have reported, they will walk around all fluffed up clucking madly whenever they are approached by another chicken.
This would suggest that there is a bit more to it than an on and off hormone switch. They know they are going to sit before they get that rise in body temperature needed to incubate the eggs.
On of the reasons for sitting at Spring time is the abundance of food. They know that when the chicks hatch they will expend a lot of energy looking for food for their chicks and get to eat considerably less. The chicks take priority.
In humans for example a pregnant women tends to put on weight for exactly the same reasons, to make an energy store so she has reserves when the baby arrives and demands feeding and all her attention. This seems to be survival theme throughout nature.
If your hen is already underweight and possibly has an illness then the extra strain of mothering chicks is not likely to improve her health.
This is helpful. Thanks!
You mean the syringe feeding? Yeah, I agree that was a bad call. I’m just really concerned about Cashew not eating. I didn’t realize the starter was going to be so fine. I think I’ll go get more of the regular size starter crumble Cashew is used to. She had been plucking breast feathers for quite some time, but I only saw her sitting insistently the last few days before giving her chicks. Her health has seemed fine, she’s only lost weight since sitting and now mothering. I just didn’t see the sitting, and didn’t clue in about the breast feathers in the nest until after she started dropping weight. She weighed 6.4 lbs, which is on the heavier side for her on 3/31, then 5.8 lbs. on 5/11. Today she weighs 5.2 lbs. I hope (and believe) it’s just from the broodiness. I hope I’m right. I just thought she’d start eating once she had her babies.
I forgot to mention, I have a local friend who only raises chicks this way. She has a broody who just loves to raise babies and it works great for her. I hope I didn’t blow it here.
I’m such an idiot. I should never have questioned Cashew. I was worried I was killing her with stress, so decided to back off and just let her do her thing. This morning I opened her cage and she led her four chicks straight out into the main run with the big girls with no issue. I ran up the hill at lunch to double check and all was well. Cashew seemed happy and relaxed. Chicks were running around exploring and the flock was not confined to half the run. Tonight Cashew can decide if she’ll bring the babies into the cage or use her favorite corner on the floor. If she chooses the floor for a couple nights in a row, I’ll remove the cage. Poor little Cashew. I feel terrible for putting her through that unnecessary stress, but at least I finally figured it out.