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Does the golf ball method really help make a chicken go broody?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by papileo, Nov 14, 2015.

  1. papileo

    papileo Out Of The Brooder

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    What are your experiences? I want to make my chickens broody or at least encourage them to turn broody I would want some chicks!
    What is the best way, or is there even a way?
     
  2. Pyxis

    Pyxis Dark Sider Premium Member

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    Unfortunately there is no way to make a hen go broody. They go broody due to hormonal changes that are triggered usually by the longer days and warmer weather of spring and summer, although some also go broody any time of year. Putting golf balls in a nest can encourage hens to lay there, but it won't make them broody. What breeds do you have? Some breeds are very broody, while other breeds are likely to never even think about brooding in their whole life.
     
  3. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    With some hens that have capacity to go broody you may be able to do it by restricting their feed intake. My American Dominiques are only moderately broody in that the younger females often will lay into late summer before going broody the first time. That can be promoted to occur earlier by restricting feed intake to about 2/3's what they would otherwise consume. Also consider taking them off the layer ration. Hens normally have some internal mechanism that limits the number of eggs they can produce although when we provide unlimited access to nutrient dense layer feeds that limitation no longer plays out the same way.
     
    1 person likes this.
  4. nchls school

    nchls school Chillin' With My Peeps

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    This year, like the two years before that, all of my hens have gone broody multiple times. I only have a few but I'm fairly sure it will work for you too. I used this method this year with nine hens; three silkies, one mutt crossbreed, and five serama and every one of them went broody. Here is what I do-If I want a broody fast I put a hen that is laying in a good sized pen with a nest box. When she lays I leave the eggs in the nest. When there is app 12 eggs the hen will go broody. The pen needs to be as big as possible. Sometimes I replace the eggs with dummy eggs if I have use for the real ones; one egg for each egg that is laid. Giving a hen a nest full of eggs will not make her broody; the nest has to gradually fill as the hen lays.

    A similar method can be used in the coop with a whole flock. Each day as you collect the eggs put ONE dummy egg in the nest where you want a broody (you might end up having more than one hen go broody doing this). When the clutch is complete the hens will go broody that are using that nesting site. In a coop setting do not leave real eggs as they might get broken leading to egg-eating.

    Some people believe broodiness is caused by a hormonal change and that is right, but it is the presence of eggs that cause the hormonal change. Hormonal changes do not happen overnight and that's why giving a laying hen a nest full of egg immediately doesn't work. The build up of a clutch has to be gradual.

    Keep in mind that many breeds no longer have the broody instinct and will not brood no matter what you do. Also, clutch size varies. My serama went broody after laying just five or six eggs. Chicken clutch size usually is more than that; 10-15 eggs being way more common than 5 or 6. Please post the results. Good luck.
     
    1 person likes this.
  5. papileo

    papileo Out Of The Brooder

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    I will take your advice! hopefully I will have any progress to update you on!
     
  6. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

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    When I want a hen to brood, I figure it doesn't hurt to tempt her with a clutch of eggs in the nest. I usually have an abundance of the real thing in season, so I use real eggs (well marked so I don't eat them later) and put 6-8 in the nest. My thinking is, setting on that clutch while laying her eggs may help trigger those hormones to flow. The body's getting a signal there's a good sized clutch. Honestly can't say if it helps or the hen would have gone broody any way, as I select for that trait. But I don't see how it hurts anything.
     
  7. nchls school

    nchls school Chillin' With My Peeps

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    What breed is the rooster in your avatar? It rather looks like some of my serama.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2015
  8. papileo

    papileo Out Of The Brooder

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    Old english gold bantam!
     
  9. nchls school

    nchls school Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Just goes to show that pictures can be deceiving. He is a beautiful bird.
     
  10. papileo

    papileo Out Of The Brooder

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    There are so many breeds as well! One like me can't tell them all apart haha! thank you yours as well.
     

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