Can't break a broody hen.

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by thechicksitter, May 11, 2016.

  1. thechicksitter

    thechicksitter Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 29, 2015
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    I officially have the worlds most stubborn chicken. She's a Java and a little over a year old. We have tried EVERYthing to break her from being broody. Isolated her in a wire bottomed crate during the day for 4 days until she just got so stressed and screechy that all the others started screeching along with her. Golf balls. Half a dozen long cold baths. Baby chicks. (She just ignored them)

    We moved things so that her nesting box is open to the sun instead of dark and cozy. I put a giant fan on her full blast. She just won't stop. She's sitting in there now, with her feathers blowing around like she's in a tornado and she still won't stop. Just keeps sitting and puffing up at us when we approach.

    We're going on 6 weeks since the first signs and over a month of super intense broodiness. It's our first experience with a broody hen and I didn't realize what was going on until it was too late.

    She's definitely lost weight and is only coming out 5-10 minutes every other day or so. No eggs for at least 3 weeks.

    It's officially ridiculous.
     
  2. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Chicken Obsessed

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    The wire bottom cage is 24/7. Not just during the day and has to be elevated to cool the underside.

    If you add chicks, she has to be sitting on eggs or something and then add them at night.

    The longer they're broody, the harder they are to break.
     
  3. thechicksitter

    thechicksitter Out Of The Brooder

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    Yep. She was full-on broody and on eggs for weeks before we tried swapping eggs for the chicks. I read everything I could find on the topic before I did it.

    The wire crate really isn't secure enough from predators at night, so I let her back in the coop at sundown the second and third night. The first night we tried keeping her on the screened porch, but she screeched and tried to bust through the crate. Even after nightfall which was has never happened before.

    Maybe I should try it again? She's probably weak enough not to fight it so much now.
     
  4. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Chicken Obsessed

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    Don't pull the eggs, just add the chicks.

    Hang the cage from the ceiling of the coop and just leave her in there till she's broken.
     
  5. thechicksitter

    thechicksitter Out Of The Brooder

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    Well we didn't pull the eggs the first time and it didn't work. So someone suggested we try again the next night and remove the eggs. She ignored them and they ignored her.

    And our coop is way too small to fit even a tiny crate inside. I'll just have to try the crate on the porch again.

    Thanks for the suggestions!
     
  6. DanEP

    DanEP Chillin' With My Peeps

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    A couple of points , don't put any thing in the cage with her except food and water no nest And if the fan is blowing in her face it's being applied to the wrong end.I sit mine on a couple of saw horses and place my fan off to the side so it's cooling off her backside.The warmer the weather the harder it is to break a broody as your try to drop her body temp and the cooler temps at night will help. Some girls will break in two days but I had a bantam cochin that never took less than a week.
     
  7. thechicksitter

    thechicksitter Out Of The Brooder

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    That's what I did with the crate.

    But I DID have the box fan facing her. I didn't even think about that. Thank you for the tip! I'll try that today.

    The good news is that yesterday she came out at least 3 times. Only for 5-10 minutes each time. But that's a huge improvement.
     
  8. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Chicken Obsessed

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    Another thing about adding chicks, the chicks need to be 1 or 2 days old or they may not take to the hen. If they leave the nest before she gets used to them, she won't pay attention to them. Adding at night has always worked for me.
     
  9. thechicksitter

    thechicksitter Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 29, 2015
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    I actually think that age was probably the biggest factor. The youngest we could find were at the local feed store, and they had already been there a day and a half. Add shipping, and they were probably 3 days old at the minimum that first night.

    But several people online said up to 7 days is ok so I decided to try it.

    We started with one chick on the first night. (About midnight) Half an hour later, we checked on them and it wasn't under her anymore, but was nearby, and they seemed calm, so we added two more under her.
    1/2 hour later and she was standing up and kept moving away when they came near her for warmth. She stayed standing most of the night. I could peak at them from a window without disturbing them. The babies finally curled up with each other on the opposite side of the hutch.
    In the morning they were still like that and it was chilly enough for me to worry. She pecked near one but wasn't aggressive (she's the most docile hen I've ever been around). But she wouldn't let them near her and just looked at them like they were disgusting aliens.

    We decided to try again the next night, and removed some eggs as we went. But as soon as she felt them, she jumped back up and they slept on opposite sides again, ignoring each other completely. So we brought them back in under the heat lamp and have hand raised them since.

    Considered trying it again, but we already have the original ones to take care of. I still might though, if she doesn't snap out of it and if I can find younger chicks. She will have been broody much longer as well. So that may help.
     
  10. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Chicken Obsessed

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    Was it dark?
    Any light at night will disrupt things.
    Once a chick gets used to not having a mom and finding heat on their own, they may not seek a hen.
     

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