Caring for a broody while her services are not needed

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Schroeder, Dec 24, 2010.

  1. Schroeder

    Schroeder Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 9, 2008
    Central Indiana
    My Coop
    I have a very broody cuckoo maran. I broke her 3 or 4 times last summer/fall. She just went broody again. I'd like to keep her for future hatching services but I don't know what to do for her now. She's with my 5 other girls and 1 rooster in a small coop, close to food and water. Do I need to work at breaking her again or should I just let her be except for stealing the eggs from under her daily?
  2. Lofty Dreams

    Lofty Dreams Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 9, 2010
    she will probly be broody for a while when are hatching eggs for show if you show you should start this now

    or give her wood or plastic eggs
  3. abhaya

    abhaya Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 5, 2010
    cookeville, tn
    i would just let her be. I always let my broods be lol I let them hatch when ever the feeling moves them
  4. Judy

    Judy Chicken Obsessed Staff Member Premium Member

    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    It depends on the broody. Some do fine getting up to eat once or twice a day. Some actually die from being broody. Almost all lose some weight from not easting as often/as much. If you are able, I'd take her off the nest and encourage her to eat/drink/peck and scratch at least twice a day; I've done this many times. They usually fluff up at me but they do get some food in before returning to the nest. Sometimes a week or two of this will break them; if not, at least they're eating. I've tried some of the more extreme measures of breaking a broody and have decided if they're that determined, it's just cruel and not going to work anyway. So I just make sure they eat, or give them eggs. I've had no luck hand feeding them on the nest, or leaving food/water in reach from the nest. IME, you have to get them on their feet --- and a bit irritated with you.

    Really, the best way by far of breaking a broody is letting her hatch, or giving her new chicks. Even where you are, I'd probably let her hatch a few, especially if you have fertile eggs at this point. They do remarkably well even in this cold, and you don't usually have to do a thing, they take care of the babies. I don't even separate the broody from the flock.
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 24, 2010
  5. Schroeder

    Schroeder Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 9, 2008
    Central Indiana
    My Coop
    I have 7 chickens in a 6x6 coop. When there is snow on the ground they don't go out much. With these close quarters how likely is it that the babies wouldn't be harmed? There really isn't enough room for me to partition them, but by next spring I will have another coop and it would be nice to start the next flock now.
  6. teach1rusl

    teach1rusl Love My Chickens

    Personally, it would make me nervous having tiny ones underfoot when the chickens are spending so much time indoors right now. I mean, you could partition off a section inside to keep them separate, but that can cause disruptions too. I'd just bump her off the nest 2x a day to encourage her to eat, drink and poop. If she doesn't break within a few weeks, then you could reevaluate. But chicks in February seems more doable at least than chicks in January, when our area generally gets its coldest, worst weather... [​IMG]
  7. spartacus_63

    spartacus_63 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 21, 2009
    Central Iowa
    That's a tough call. I use a separate brooder box and coop when hatching. I would think you would have issues with unauthorized deposits in the broody nest if she is hatching in general population. Another concern I would have (not knowing your birds) would be that the mother could get chased off the nest and fail to return.

    I would not worry about the chicks after hatch. Although you will need to have a way to ensure they can get to the food & water w/o being run off by the big girls.

    If your coop is tall enough, you could get a dog kennel and use that for a brooder. If you use a wire one, you could put cardboard or plywood on top of the kennel and not loose any space in the coop. This would allow you to keep the broody in and the nosy sisters out.

    I will not say it can't be done, but I would not do it in such a small coop with out a brooder box.
  8. kateseidel

    kateseidel Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 9, 2010
    I am not interested in hatching, and have no rooster. so I let my broodies be; twice a day I pick them up and send them outside for some fresh air, although they are usually back on the next within 30 minutes. They take about three weeks, and then they are over it. My girls are friendly even when broody, and don't object to my dragging them off the nest - I might take a different approach if I had one of those mean hens!!

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