Epidemic Broodiness making me crazy!

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by thegreypony, Jul 8, 2012.

  1. thegreypony

    thegreypony Songster

    So we have a flock of 19 hens (5 are Seramas) and 1 crazy brown leghorn rooster who until the heat wave has been very amorous with his favorite ladies.

    About 2-3 weeks ago, one of the young Ameraucanas decided she felt a little broody. This developed into full on broodiness and egg collecting with several hens refusing to lay anywhere but the box she was in (ridiculous, I know). Broody hen's behavior has infected a total of 6 birds now (not really counting the banties b/c they all "go broody" anytime more than one egg is in a box & are EZ to break)...they are all cramming into the same couple of boxes.

    I candled eggs today and pulled out the non-fertile; going to give an appropriate amount of time for those to either continue developing or fail. I'm hoping that the arrival of some baby fluffy butts will break the broodiness for most or all of them since they are co-setting at this point.

    I tried breaking the originally broody hen with no luck. Ol' timers - any thoughts on what to do with this free loading menagerie? Should I just get some fertile hatching eggs and set everyone up in their own box, cross my fingers, and do a little dance that a successful hatch will break all of this. It's getting ridiculous.... btw - we have 8 nesting boxes in our hen house.

    Interestingly enough, NONE of my ol standby broody girls have shown ANY interest in setting this year (probably no room in the boxes...)

    Any recommendations on how to fix this "mess" would be appreciated...
     
  2. sourland

    sourland Broody Magician

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    Get a bunch of leghorns. [​IMG]
     
  3. Bunnylady

    Bunnylady POOF Goes the Pooka

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    Sour, is the broody GPS still malfunctioning?![​IMG]


    Sometimes co-setting broodies are successful, sometimes not. Multiple hens trying to tend eggs can result in eggs that get broken or just plain quit. Do you actually want them to hatch anything? If so, you may need to separate them out to give them better chances at success.

    I have always had rotten luck with chicks when it comes to the other adult chickens. Often my first clue that the eggs are hatching is a dead chick that got away from the broody and was killed by the other chickens. I usually remove the chicks as soon as I know they are hatching, so I can only guess what would happen in this case. Even though they have incubated communally, I'm not sure the hens would continue to parent communally once the chicks hatch - I suspect one bird would care for the chicks, and the others might keep on setting. [​IMG]
     
  4. thegreypony

    thegreypony Songster

    Well...there's no short story to how we ended up this way...

    We have 2 buff orps who embrace broodiness and every attempt to break them fails. The easiest way to break the broody is to let them hatch a few eggs. Alongside those birds we have a teensie bantam who co-sets with one of those birds whenever someone is broody. The coparenting has never been anything but positive - perhaps b/c the bantam just shoves up under the buff orp like another chick!! LOL

    Anyway - last year one of the BOs went broody AGAIN in late September. I got her some eggs (expensive NPIP Ameraucana was all I could find) to hatch to break the broodiness. The birds who are currently broody are those stupid Ameraucana hens that hatched in October. I'm considering re-homing them for Wyandottes b/c the Ameraucanas' eggs are only ever mediums and they are flighty birds. Love my Wyandottes.

    I'm hoping the hatch will break the broodiness and I can just give the mutt chicks to friends of mine who have backyard flocks. Breaking one or two broodies wasn't too horrible but breaking 5...and then last night I think they've sucked the black orpington into their crazy. This was cute and cool the first few times we did it...now, not so much.
     
  5. VentuckyChick

    VentuckyChick Songster

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    Great. So broodiness IS contagious?? Oh brother. Thought we had the problem under control and now our darn Ancona has decided she wants chicks!! Argh.
     
  6. NickyPick

    NickyPick Songster

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    I've had my 2 BO's and one of the brahmas alternately go broody this year. I think it's been 2 times each for the BO's and 3 times for the Brahma. As soon as I see them staying in the nest box longer than usual, I will separate them. The chicken will go to a horse stall all alone with food and water for the day. I return them to the coop at night because the stall just isn't safe enough for an overnighter, but first thing the next morning, she goes back to the stall. The BO's tend to break around 3 days. The Brahma, 4-5 days. The Brahma is funny. Everytime I look into the stall when she's in there, she'll fluff up and growl/screech at me. My dad or the farrier or anyone else, actually, doesn't get that reaction, so she's definitely mad at me! At night, she'll fluff up and stalk up to me, growling all the way and wait for me to pick her up to return her to the coop.

    I'm starting to think I need a broody-breaking coop. Something that I can safely put them in 24/7 for a couple of days. The last time Galena (Brahma) went broody, I tossed her in with the 17 week old Brahmas. They don't have nest boxes yet and I figured the stress of fitting in would help break her broodiness. Plus, it was an experiment since I'm thinking of merging my two 18 month old Brahma's in with the youngsters when the youngsters start laying. I wanted to see how the personalities would mesh. Galena is not a bully, but she is a top hen. She growled at the pullets and chased the cockerel once or twice on the first day. The first night had her on the roost and all the babies on the ground. The next day, the kids were not staying as far from Galena and they all shared the roost at night (opposite ends). The next day they were all together and I figured Galena wasn't in a broody mood anymore, so I put her back with her flock. Successful experiment on two fronts!!
     
  7. Bunnylady

    Bunnylady POOF Goes the Pooka

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    Oh, yes, it's contagious! I had a group of Buff Orpington/Bantam Cochin/Barred Rock crosses free ranging in my barnyard. They decided that the best place to lay their eggs was in one corner of one of my miniature horses' stalls. That worked OK until one of them went broody. Shortly, a second tried to join her, and wound up settling a few feet away. The other birds began laying in another corner, and a few days later, one went broody in that corner, too! Eventually there were 5 hens setting in that stall, and my poor mini had almost nowhere to stand without getting screamed at by at least one broody. I moved all of the broodies to separate cages, and bought some eggs that they did a terrific job of hatching. I finally wound up having to shut the hens out of the stall when I caught the mini eating their eggs![​IMG]
     

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