Can you MAKE a hen go BROODY?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by jeremy, Feb 1, 2009.

  1. jeremy

    jeremy CA Royal Blues

    Mar 23, 2008
    Oakland, CA
    I know it seems like an odd question, but i was wondering if there was any possibility of forcing a hen into broodiness?

    The reason being, in about 3 weeks I'm going to have fluffy butts again! I was researching brooder ideas after my cardboard box disaster last season and the idea just kind of hit me. Why not let a momma hen lend a helping hand? Or wing? Possibly cutting the time the babies have to be indoors and to help with the introduction of new members to the flock.

    Does anybody have any ideas/tactics/previous experiences with turning their girls into nurturing mothers?

    BTW, the hens going down the hopeful maternal road would be Delawares, that are almost a year old. They lay regularly and are super sweet and docile. My only concern is the time span that I've got to "trick" the hen into sitting on unfertilized eggs, that suddenly turn into peeping day old chicks. Would she fall for it? Does the mommy mode just kick in?

    Thanks! [​IMG]
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 1, 2009

  2. Skitz

    Skitz Skitz15k

    Nov 11, 2008
    I would say you can't make a hen go broody
  3. william9792

    william9792 Songster

    Nov 23, 2008
    graham, nc
    i have been told that you can not make a hen go broody, but you may have a hen that will take them in as hers, it is all up to her, i would not want to take that chance myself, for i have N.H.Reds and RIR's and they would just knock them out of the pin
  4. mrandmrschicken

    mrandmrschicken Songster

    Sep 14, 2008
    NW IA
    This is a method of forcing I have only heard of, not tried.
    And yes, it might sound mean..... I have only heard this. This is way things were done in the old days. Maybe some still use this method, just don't want to be ridiculed.
    Find a bucket or a container large enough to hold a hen or an older pullet. Inside the bucket, place a few eggs. Place the bird in the bucket with wire over the top and held down in a way so she can't get out. Leaving her in there, confined, in the small space with the eggs for a few days is supposed to spur her natural tendency to produce the hormone needed. Don't know if it works, I was told it worked like a charm..
    AshleyMarie17 and brahma chicken like this.
  5. Chickenaddict

    Chickenaddict Songster

    May 19, 2008
    East Bethel MN
    I cant guarentee it will work but i did it once with great success. Let eggs sit in the nest until one of the hens feels like its a full clutch then she may or may not set on them. Worked for me but like i said only once, karma came back and bit me in the butt this year, when i didn't want any broodies i first got 6 then another so 7 broodies total. Want one of mine? lol
    AshleyMarie17 likes this.

  6. kmmp

    kmmp In the Brooder

    Mar 17, 2008
    I have several broody hens (when they are cooperating) but I don't think you can make a hen go broody. They either produce enough of the hormone or they don't (in my experience a lot of it has to do with breed). My buff orp was broody three times a year, but my rir never...go figure. I do know that the hens will kill the new ones if you are hatching in an incubator and looking to put them out with the rest of the flock.

  7. jeremy

    jeremy CA Royal Blues

    Mar 23, 2008
    Oakland, CA
    Quote:i'm getting some buff orpington babies! i'm so excited. [​IMG]
  8. jeremy

    jeremy CA Royal Blues

    Mar 23, 2008
    Oakland, CA
    Quote:i'd like to somehow get it to work, but i don't know if i could have the heart to stick one of my girls in a bucket... i mean, we brine our thanksgiving turkey every year in a 5 gal. bucket!

    hahah. thanks for the idea though.
  9. Lee

    Lee Songster

    Jun 27, 2008
    Marion County, IN
    There was a short article in an issue of Backyard Poultry where this 12 year old boy shared his method and he got it from his grandfather. Basically what he does is, he covered a rabbit cage with tar paper to make it dark. Provide some kind of box to hold the nesting material and put the hen in the nest box in the cage. Each morning and evening he would take her out to eat and drink for about 20 minutes each time. He said it took about 4-5 days for the hen to go broody and stay on the nest without the tar paper. But, it was still best to provide a dark place, so he only took the tar paper off the front of the cage. This is the best I remember how the article read and I didn't save that issue. Passed it on to a friend, I think. HTH [​IMG]
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2009

  10. debilorrah

    debilorrah The Great Guru of Yap Premium Member

    I don't think you can make a chicken do anything! However, I do have one BO that is quite motherly. Everytime we integrate chicks into the flock, she is the one that protects them and follows them everywhere.

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