Can you get Hens to GO Broody?

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by pHENtHOUSE, Feb 3, 2014.

  1. pHENtHOUSE

    pHENtHOUSE Out Of The Brooder

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    May 27, 2013
    I have 22 hens and 2 duck hens. Have had them since last March. Neighbor's younger hen (barred rock) has had 2 nestings but none of mine have volunteered to set yet! They have 3 roosters with them now (just got rid of 5 roos), the yard is calmer but not set. I have a variety of hens usually two of each breed; Wyandotte, Orpingtons, Australorp, Turken, Sussex, Bantam Cochin, Silky and American's. Any Ideas?
     
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  2. gander007

    gander007 Chicken Obsessed

    Your Silky is the best one for hatching but to make them
    go broody that is something I haven't been able to do in
    40 years as it is a biological clock thing [​IMG]
     
  3. Cowdoggin

    Cowdoggin Out Of The Brooder

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    It also depends on the breeds and each individual hen herself. This includes the ducks (just info..a hen duck is simply call a duck). I do know that Orpintons and Australops are still (in my opinion) a good dual purpose bird, because they will still go broody, however Not All of them will. Most of the Australop hens, (although hatchery stock) that I had would go broody, but had one that didnt. My only Buff Orpinton Hen tried "Extreme Brooding" her 1st year, but so far, has not gone brood since. Thank Goodness!!!! She will be 3 this year. And I Have G.L. Wyandotte that went broody just once, so far, and she too is almost 3.

    Some verities of Sussex are said to go broody, but not all color verities will, Americana/Easter Eggers dont normally brood as they are more of an Egg Layer breed, however there is Dual purpose Easter Egges, but I dont believe they brood either. and I have never had one go broody. The other breeds of Chicken I cant say for sure, as I dont know that much about those breeds.. And with you ducks, it will depend on the breed too (and again each duck herself). I have 1 Buff Orpinton Duck, Fawn, who has gone broody 2 years in a row, but the Khaki Campbell Duck, Gracie has only gone broody once, and that was out of moral support for Fawn. (will try to find some pict of my two brooding ducks), however Khaki's are egg layer duck and are not breed to go broody..and Gracie didnt stay on her clutch of egg until term either. We had to put her eggs in the incubator their last week, So Gracie could go play 'Step-Mom Duck" and she helped Fawn out w/her ducklings, or at least tried anyway. My daughter has 2 Ancona Ducks (Duck and Drake) and 3 Muscovy ( 2 ducks and 1 drake), I know the Muscovy are very good sitters, and that most will sit. The Anconas we will find out this summer..

    The problem is since the 1930's, when the Cornish Cross hit the Super Markets, The Dual Purpose Breeds have gone on the way side, people started breeding more for Show and Egg laying, so among other things, the broodiness has been breed out of the hen in most breeds.. and hatcheries breed for Quantity and Not Quality.. which is some of the trouble too.

    And with all that being said..Sadly, You cant force them, You just have to wait and see..I have had hens go broody in early March and as late as Sept. But whats REALLY fun is trying to convince a Broody Hen, to stop being broody..
     
  4. adgcountrygirl

    adgcountrygirl Chillin' With My Peeps

    Are you collecting the eggs every day? If you collect them daily, it prevents them from going broody usually. I do have a Blue-Laced Red Wyandotte that goes broody every winter instead of spring. Warmth and lighting help them go broody as well, but feeling a certain number of eggs will help. If you only want a small brood, try putting a few golf balls in the nest with the eggs you want her to sit on. I use a large rabbit hutch as a 'bloody box' so that she has her own food, water and oyster shell or grit. It also keeps other hens from heckling her.
     
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2014
  5. WalkingOnSunshine

    WalkingOnSunshine Overrun With Chickens

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    No, you cannot make a hen go broody. No matter what her breed.

    She will first have to have the disposition to go broody, and some breeds are much more broody than others. You can make it more likely that you'll get a broody hen by choosing a Silkie, a dark Cornish, a Marans, a Brahma, and several others.

    Then, she will have to undergo certain hormonal changes that cause her to stop laying eggs and want to sit on them instead. You can't make this happen on your schedule, no matter what you do. You can encourage this behavior by leaving some eggs in nests, but that's not necessary. We gather eggs three times a day, and my broodies still want to sit.

    Not only will leaving eggs not make birds want to sit, gathering eggs won't prevent them from wanting to sit, either. I wish it was that easy. I have broodies whether I want them or not, and as I said we gather three times a day. It would be awesome if I could keep my ladies laying or make them sit just by leaving eggs in the nests, but it just doesn't work that way.

    More light (springtime) can make them want to sit, but heat doesn't have much to do with it. We have one girl that wants to sit in early March every year, when temps are well below zero and there's still snow on the ground. [​IMG]

    If you want broody hens, the most you can do is get broody breeds, leave some golf balls in the nests (can't hurt, might help) and cross your fingers. They'll never go broody on your schedule, though.
     
  6. pHENtHOUSE

    pHENtHOUSE Out Of The Brooder

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    May 27, 2013
    Thank you everyone for your input! I may try leaving a few eggs in one of the boxes and see if it helps trigger a brood response. I was hoping getting rid of the stress of too many roosters would help but it sounds like I just get to wait it out!

    Thanks again! This is a great web site to get this type of input! Love it1
     
  7. Cowdoggin

    Cowdoggin Out Of The Brooder

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    Having too many Roosters in the pen, can cause stress on the hens and make them less likely to brood too.. It can also cause them to stop laying.. The cockerels at my house are removed from the main pens at about 5-6mths Or when they really become 'trouble makers" , and place in their Own pen, then usually culled from there.. Have too many hens
    trying to use the same dang nest box, can be a possible problem too. So there is lots of factors that can come into play for a hen that might want to brood, and solving those issues can be hard cause you dont always know IF there is really an issue or just the hens themselves. And having a cowdog puppy, steal eggs from the barn does not help either..lol

    But Just keep in mind: You can have the most stress free environment, with breeds that Are prone to go broody, and still not have a hen go broody.. Everything depends on the hens..this is how they breed out the broodiness in most of the breeds. By collecting eggs from the hens that didnt brood.. But having Breeds that are more prone to brood does help a lot.

    Or You could get a hen that does "Pretend Brooding". One of my B. Australop hens last year, ran around the pen for..about 3 wks, all fluffed and grouchy. She would even peck the ground and cluck to "pretend chicks".. WE were very amused for 3 weeks..She Never did sit on a nest..

    But If you do have a hen go broody, keep an eye on her and make sure she is getting off the next and eating/drinking.. again my B. Orpinton tried to do "Extreme Brooding" and we lost her clutch and almost lost her..
     
  8. pHENtHOUSE

    pHENtHOUSE Out Of The Brooder

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    Funny about your cow dog steeling eggs! The hens did settle once we got rid of 5 of the roosters but still no brooding. Which is okay with me but sometime I would like to have the girls experience a brooding hen for their 4-H experience. The last bit of chickens I got are starting to show that 2 more are cockerels and now I have to cull them out too. No room for 2 pens! Thanks for your advice and help!
     

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