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Buff acting strangely: broody or hurt?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by vivaciouswoman, Nov 14, 2015.

  1. vivaciouswoman

    vivaciouswoman Out Of The Brooder

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    I've got a Buff who has been sitting in the same nest box for at least 16 hours. I found her last evening when my roost count was off and I had to look in the nest boxes before closing up the coop. This morning, she was still there. I pet her a bit and she cooed. I got some rubber gloves on and picked her up to inspect her, and she was sitting on one nice warm egg (brown and about the right size for her), but it was in her middle, not emerging from her vent. We also have golf balls in all the nesting boxes. I removed the egg and told her she was a good girl and put her back down. I just went back down again--five hours later--and she's still sitting there. She coos when I pet her, and I can pick her up and turn her over. A quick inspection of her vent area shows a little bit of poop on the feathers, but she doesn't look blocked. I don't feel any lumps like impacted eggs, but I'm a new chicken owner with no medical training and I didn't explore inside the vent. She seems calm and normal, but I've never had any of my girls just sit in a nesting box like that.

    Any advice for me? Any way to tell whether she's just suddenly broody versus having something wrong?

    Thanks to the community for being out here for us newbies!
     
  2. song of joy

    song of joy Chillin' With My Peeps

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    It sounds like she might be broody. Broody hens will usually puff up and try to peck you when you reach under them, but that's not always the case. A broody hen will stay on the nest day and night, only getting off for about 10-15 minutes per day to eat, drink and poo. They may also make a clucking sound, but some don't do that until the hatch approaches.

    Try taking her completely off the nest and putting her outside the coop - for example, in the run area. If she's broody, it won't be long before she's back at the nest.

    If you don't want her to be broody, there are ways to "break" the broodiness.
     
    1 person likes this.
  3. nchls school

    nchls school Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Most hens that are broody will puff themselves up and make a growling sound when disturbed. Your hen sounds like she is very tame so she may not act as a normal broody hen. Place an egg in front of her. If she pulls the egg under her she she is not sick, but may be going broody. Should she brood through the day and night, she is in broody mode. Give her some fertile eggs to hatch if you want chicks.
     
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  4. vivaciouswoman

    vivaciouswoman Out Of The Brooder

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    Is there any reason why I should discourage broody behavior as long as she's not mean?

    Winter is coming, so I'm worried about egg output decline. Would that contribute to a decline in egg laying for her?
     
  5. vivaciouswoman

    vivaciouswoman Out Of The Brooder

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    Awesome advice! Going to put an egg in front of her now...
     
  6. vivaciouswoman

    vivaciouswoman Out Of The Brooder

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    Going to try to move her, too. Thanks!
     
  7. nchls school

    nchls school Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Broody hens do not lay eggs for the duration of incubation and the rearing of chicks.
     
  8. song of joy

    song of joy Chillin' With My Peeps

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    If she's not going to hatch eggs for you, I'd recommend breaking her broodiness. A hen eats about 80% less than normal over the 21-day incubation period, losing approximately 20% of her body weight. If you live in an area with very cold winters, the reduction in body condition is probably not desirable. She will also not have the advantage of sharing body heat with other hens while roosting at night, as she'll be in the nest box.

    You won't have any eggs from her while she's broody. Even when you break broodiness, it takes a week or two before they resume laying. Of course, you may not get eggs from her anyway if she molts.
     
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2015
  9. vivaciouswoman

    vivaciouswoman Out Of The Brooder

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    Compelling argument! I've moved her out to the run with all the other girls and gave them some scratch. I stayed out there with them for about 10 minutes, and she didn't make a move back to the nest boxes in that time. I'll keep checking back. I just keep moving her when she's in her nesting box?
     
  10. song of joy

    song of joy Chillin' With My Peeps

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    You can keep moving her out of the nest box, but if that doesn't work confine her for 48 to 72 hours in an elevated, wire-bottom cage. Give her food and water, but absolutely no nesting material or bedding material of any kind. You can let her out briefly each day so she can relieve herself, but it's OK to just leave her in the cage as well.
     
    1 person likes this.

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