Encouraging broodyness

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by thunderbird, Feb 21, 2017.

  1. thunderbird

    thunderbird Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I've always wanted to hatch out some chicks under a broody hen but my old orpington hen that goes broody almost every year can never hatch any eggs. Ive Given her 4 tries and not a single hatch. My new flock is laying finally and turned about 8 months old. I'm wondering if you guys have any methods you use to encourage your hens to go broody.
     
  2. sadlierclan

    sadlierclan New Egg

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    My sister-in-law builds a brooder box where the hen has enough rm to eat and drink and that's about it...once the hen goes broody she removes her and the eggs at night to her box....works great for her
     
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2017
  3. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Chicken Obsessed

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    There's no tried and true method but there are a few things you can do.
    First is to have notoriously broody breeds.
    Second is to have very comfortable and secluded nest boxes.
    I have had lots of broody hens in all kinds of nests. However, I never had one on plastic nest pads cause I don't think they find them comfortable. Straw, grass, shavings and excelsior pads are better.
    Putting several fake eggs in a nest can help too.

    Any idea why your hen's efforts failed?
    Peruse this link for possible causes.
    http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00008570/00001/3j
     
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2017
  4. thunderbird

    thunderbird Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanka for the info filled reply, I have put many golf balls inside the most commonly used nest box, does it matter if I do that or not?
    [​IMG]
     
  5. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Chicken Obsessed

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    Several years ago I read something about the pressure spots on the abdomen with eggs or whatever in a nest while they are laying have an effect on changing the hormones to stimulate broodiness.
    I have noticed that if I failed to collect eggs for a day or two that I end up with a broody in that box.
    I have also had hens go broody on an empty nest.
     
  6. rebrascora

    rebrascora Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I would not use the favourite box to "encourage" a broody as it will cause problems with the other hens laying in her nest if it does help trigger broodiness. In your situation I would hang curtains across one of the least used nest boxes and put the golf balls in there. Don't be surprised if they all suddenly have a new favourite nest box though!... hens prefer a dark secretive, safe place to lay. Usually the favourite nest box will be the darkest one in a corner somewhere.

    @ChickenCanoe ....I also remember reading that piece of info somewhere on BYC a few years ago and have never seen it referred to since. I think it may only apply to a hen that is already in the pre broody stages though. My best broody hen (she broods twice a year every year) and her daughter amassed a secret nest of 47 eggs (a veritable mountain of them ) a couple of years ago, but showed no inclination to incubate them during that time, so the pressure alone does not appear to be enough. It was Christmas holidays time though, so not really a natural time to raise chicks. Then I have 2 pekins (bantam cochins) at the moment that are determinedly broody with no eggs at all, so I think it is one of those factors that may work for some but not all. I suppose with hormones, as we all know, there are no hard and fast rules!
     
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2017
  7. thunderbird

    thunderbird Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I'll see what I can do about the curtains
     
  8. rebrascora

    rebrascora Chillin' With My Peeps

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    It doesn't have to be anything posh. A feed bag tacked to the timber at the top of the nest box will do and just cut it a couple of inches short of the lip on the nest box. Just enough room to encourage an inquisitive hen to investigate. My best broody hens like to be sneaky about where they lay, so I try to accommodate that sneakiness but to my convenience by placing covered nest boxes in out of the way places...my hens free range. I see it as a game.... how good am I at choosing an attractive location and making the nest inviting? If I put a new one out and it only takes a day for a hen to find it and lay in it, I consider myself a winner!....I know I'm a bit sad! [​IMG]
     
  9. peeper89

    peeper89 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    What kind rooster do u have. Maybe he the problem she dont hatch eggs, maybe he cant do job.
     
  10. rebrascora

    rebrascora Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I agree, it seemed harsh blaming the broody for lack of success, but without knowing more information as to what went wrong, I didn't like to comment. When you say she has had 4 tries and not a single hatch, did you check that they were fertile and that the eggs had started to develop. Was she prone to abandoning the nest? Did she get pushed off the nest by other hens wanting to lay in her nest and then just found another nest to sit in. These things are not necessarily the fault of the broody but the circumstances of her management situation. A broody hen does not really develop a bond with her eggs until close to hatch when she can hear them and start talking back to them. During the initial couple of weeks of incubation, she is really just homes into the location of the nest, which is why moving her can cause problems or having nest boxes next to each other that all look alike. That is why I suggested putting the golf balls in the least favourite nest and then making it look different and more inviting and secretive.
     
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