Can you time hen broodiness?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by KDH, Dec 15, 2009.

  1. KDH

    KDH Chillin' With My Peeps

    117
    1
    111
    Nov 23, 2009
    Northeast Ohio
    OK, new to chickens. I'm used to breeding horses, this is totally different! [​IMG] Anyway, I'm wondering if you can encourage a hen to get broody at a particular time - and how long she needs to be with the rooster. For instance, suppose in the late spring or early summer, I had a hen with a "barrowed" rooster for however long they "need" (the rooster won't be staying at our place for any longer than necessary to get the job done), and then I wanted her to incubate her own eggs.

    Question A - how long would said barrowed rooster and the hen need to "shack up" for there to be a reasonable chance of a fertile batch of eggs?

    And Question B - assuming we get a fertile batch of eggs, how does one encourage the hen to get broody and thus incubate those eggs herself (this is a wyandotte hen - my understanding is they tend to like to brood)?

    Thanks for any insight.
     
  2. Akane

    Akane Overrun With Chickens

    4,654
    30
    251
    Jun 15, 2008
    No you can't make a hen broody. You can do a few things to encourage it like leaving eggs (they can be fake) in appealing nest boxes but some will never go broody, some will always seem to be broody, and some will go broody at the most inopportune times. A rooster will not make a hen go broody. The eggs will remain fertile though for at least a week or 2 and possibly up to 4weeks. It probably won't take more than a couple days for a roo to fully fertilize a hen. It won't do you any good though unless you already have a broody and broody hens stop laying. The odds of one hen laying plenty of fertile eggs from one set of matings with a roo and then going broody in time to sit on them are pretty remote. If you want chicks from your hen then you need either an incubator or a 2nd hen that is already broody. If you want your hen to hatch eggs you should get fertile eggs from another hen. Also it's best not to trust a broody with really important eggs her first time. They can be unpredictable and may not finish sitting on them, may accidentally break them, or may kill the chicks when they hatch. Better to use a proven broody that has hatched before if you have expensive or otherwise important eggs.
     
  3. KDH

    KDH Chillin' With My Peeps

    117
    1
    111
    Nov 23, 2009
    Northeast Ohio
    OK, that makes sense. So either wait until one hen is broody, then bring the rooster over for a while with the other hen(s), and stuff any resulting eggs under the broody hen? Or... as we'll only have four or maybe five hens ... I guess we could bring the rooster over, let him hang out for a while with all of the girls, then whoever goes broody gets to be a mom. As it were. [​IMG]

    I have to laugh at myself... after years of breeding horses (including collecting stallions, chilling and shipping semen all over the country, and artificially inseminating my own mares), chickens seem complicated! It's a fun new adventure, though - I've been waiting to get chickens for years. Looking forward to it!

    Thanks for the input!
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by