Can a broodie starve herself to death?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Granolamom, May 14, 2009.

  1. Granolamom

    Granolamom Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 9, 2008
    Yes, I know all about them only getting off the nest every few days, but my BO, Sarah, has been sitting on 6 eggs since last Friday morning (today is day 7), and she has NOT gotten off the nest to eat or drink. The reason I know this, is because I put the food and water in there all nice and neat (she is a very messy eater), and I know that she has not touched either one. In my despair, I put a piece of watermelon right infront of her (her favorite snack), and she has not touched it, either. There are no droppings in her little pen (I separated her from the others, so that she could still see them, but won't be bothered by them).
    She's mean as heck when we come near her, hisses and growls at us, and gets all puffy, but I'm really starting to get worried that she'll starve to death, trying to be a mom.
    Is it possible?[​IMG]
  2. Cuban Longtails

    Cuban Longtails Flock Mistress

    Sep 20, 2007
    Northeast Texas
    Yes, they can. Most don't, but there are a few that do.
  3. Granolamom

    Granolamom Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 9, 2008
    Quote:Okay, so what do I do? Take her off the nest and force her to eat and drink?
  4. LynneP

    LynneP Chillin' With My Peeps

    Can you build her a big 'broodie cage'? She may be starving herself to protect the eggs from other hens. I know it sounds sill and that you've brought the food to her, but broodies are!

    She has to eat or she is going to 'go light' then die.
  5. Chicks_N_Horses

    Chicks_N_Horses Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 30, 2009
    South Alabama
    I put a dish of food and water so she can eat without ever moving off the nest. Mine will eat and drink.

    Maybe your girl is just fasting in hopes of her babies hatching...??...

    good luck
  6. Granolamom

    Granolamom Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 9, 2008
    Quote:When she first went broody, we took our old rabbit hutch, made her a nice, comfy nest in it, and placed it inside our chicken run. The other hens won't bother her, because they free-range all over the yard all day long. She has food and fresh water within a foot of her nest, but won't get up. This afternoon we took her out of the nest, and placed her on the floor of the run (all the other chickens were gone. At first, she could not walk and sat right back down, because her legs sort of gave out. Then, after we coaxed her into walking some, she ate some watermelon (water and crumble were available to her, too, but she did not touch either one), pooped a bunch of liqid stuff, and then the biggest, most disgusting chicken poop I've ever seen, and then climbed back into the hutch.
    I guess we'll have to take her out of there every day, since she obviously won't do it on her own. I just wish I could get her to eat anything but watermelon...
  7. ghulst

    ghulst Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 31, 2008
    Zeeland Michigan
    Have set 100's of broodies over the years and neve had one starve yet.
  8. Farm Frenzy

    Farm Frenzy Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 16, 2008
    Oak Hill, Florida
    Set the food and water as close to her as possible. That way she doesn't have to get off the nest at all, she can just lean over a little and grab some. i had one like that, and after I moved her food closer, she started eating. I'm talking, put it practically on the nest if you have to.
  9. onthespot

    onthespot Deluxe Dozens

    Mar 29, 2008
    Riverside/Norco, CA
    When mine don't get up to eat or drink I try to make a small dish of soaked feed, wet enough it sloshes when you shake it, and take her by the comb or nape of the neck feathers and dunk her beak in the mash. She should get to wolfing it down right away. She probably won't finish it, but she will get a good snack worth to kick start her appetite. I leave it within reach and make it fresh for them twice a day and they get back into the swing of things of eating.
  10. Judy

    Judy Chicken Obsessed Staff Member Premium Member

    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    Well, at least she did a broody poop; maybe next time she will eat/drink better.

    Onthespot has a good approach. I'd offer that rather than the watermelon for a day or two. Hopefully she will get it going.

    I don't know whether they can starve, but they certainly can lose a lot of weight and get weak, etc. To a point this is natural.

    You'll figure out a way to get some water and food in her, I'm sure.

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