Can a broody hen kill herself by being broody?

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by _sonshine_, Nov 5, 2009.

  1. _sonshine_

    _sonshine_ Out Of The Brooder

    Mar 16, 2009
    My broody hen died overnight. She had been sitting for 16 days and I know she got up a few times to eat and drink a when I would go out feed and give treats. Her butt was very cakey w/ poo. She abandon her nest so I knew something was up and I could just go and pick her up and they usually run from me. I separated her last night and all she wanted to do was sleep....when I went to check on her this morning she was dead. IDK what happened??? Should I be worried about my other chickens?
  2. EweSheep

    EweSheep Flock Mistress

    Jan 12, 2007
    Land of Lincoln
    Yes they can will themselves to death if you let them. I always check their muscles and body mass to see how they are doing. If they are starting to lose weight I would physically go to the hen and take her off the nest and put her with the food and water and take a break.

    I've lost one hen due to that when I was learning about chickens. Now I know how to deal with it as well.

    Another thing, she could have another underlining problems like worms or some illness she had prior to broody stage.
  3. Cetawin

    Cetawin Chicken Beader

    Mar 20, 2008
    NW Kentucky
    EweSheep said it all. It is especially difficult for a first time broody. They can do themselves in easily. I am sorry about your loss.
  4. _sonshine_

    _sonshine_ Out Of The Brooder

    Mar 16, 2009
    Thanks! This is my first time w/ chickens and my chickens are young....they just turned 30 weeks yesterday [​IMG]
  5. Sunny Side Up

    Sunny Side Up Count your many blessings...

    Mar 12, 2008
    Loxahatchee, Florida
    Every hen seems to have her own component of broody skills, some just do a better job than others. I'm continually impressed with how well they instinctually know just how often & how long to time their breaks, adjusting to the current outside temperatures, in order to keep their eggs at ideal conditions. I am hesitant to interfere with their work by taking them off the nests to eat/drink/poop unless they seem to be ailing. I've never had a broody hen starve herself to death while on the nest and I've even had hens setting for over 6 weeks, when their first clutch fails to hatch. But I'm sure it's possible, most anything is.

    My guess is that your hen had some other ailment that caused her demise. It may not be due to brooding, but just a coincidental occurance. Check the other birds in your flock for worms or other intestinal ailments.

    I am also sorry for the loss. [​IMG]
  6. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    I agree. There is likely an underlying cause, such as worms or mites. Being broody is hard on a hen but a vast majority do fine.

    When a broody dies, I always suspect roost mites. These mites stay in cracks and crannies during the day and attack the hen at night. I once heard a University of Arkansas Ag Professor say that roost mites kill more broody hens than anything else.
  7. al6517

    al6517 Real Men can Cook

    May 13, 2008
    Yes they can !!! I had a silkie that was a terrible mother who would abandon her nest 5 day's from hatch, but she would continue to go broody and set eggs. She finaly passed from what I think was exhaustion.

  8. Buckguy20

    Buckguy20 OKIE MOSES

    Apr 13, 2007
    Choctaw Oklahoma
    I once had a hen die on the nest right after hatching 14 eggs.
  9. Dazlin

    Dazlin Out Of The Brooder

    Nov 5, 2007
    From my experience, I'd have to say YES! It also depends on the hen.
    I've had some that would never get off the nest to eat or drink. I know, the food was un-touched.
    Those types of hens, I peel off their nest, and place them right near the water and food. With that, they always eat/drink and take a dust bath. Then they happily return to the nest. I do this 2x a day.
    I've had others, that were real good about taking care of themselves.
  10. bify4

    bify4 New Egg

    May 14, 2013
    hi im bify4 and i have a hen called eggy and im 12 years old and im realy worried about my hen eggy because she never leaves her nest and dosent eat or drink that much only if u take her of the nest, wat shud i do?

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