Explain "going broody"

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Summer98, Sep 16, 2011.

  1. Summer98

    Summer98 Songster

    Sep 11, 2011
    What exactly does the going "broody" mean. I understand it is a time period when the hen wants to incubate her eggs and so she will sit on them. So does this last forever? This book I read said that silkies will lay 105 eggs before going broody. And then what? Do they stop laying eggs forever after that? Or do they return to laying again?

  2. 3goodeggs

    3goodeggs pays attention sporadically

    May 22, 2009
    North Central Florida
    Broody is when they have decided to hatch a clutch of eggs. It lasts about three weeks, although I have had hens sit until I thought they would die of malnutrition.
    They rest a bit, regain some strength and start laying eggs again. Some hens go broody once a year, and some seem to be broody all summer.

    I am not a big fan of broody hens. They are aggressive and hiss and puff up. The normally kind hen becomes a flesh eating monster if she thinks you want her eggs.

    Other hens will lay their eggs in her nest so that she can hatch them. They will also tuck eggs from other nests under their wings and steel them.
    Broodies are psycho girls, but then the hormones die down and they are fine again.
    Now silkies... might be calmer and sweeter and not be a big deal at all.
    by this time each year I am rather fed up with broodies.
  3. sheaviance1

    sheaviance1 Songster

    Apr 7, 2010
    Close your eyes and imagine: You have a miniature feathered velociraptor protecting her eggs from any and all predators. She puffs up all her feathers in order to intimidate you, gives you the 1000 yard stink-eye stare to stop you dead in your tracks, and snarls her velociraptor screeching growl at you to scare you away. When that doesn't work, and you insist upon coming closer, she sharpens her already razor sharp beak and repeatedly attacks you with moves that fencers only dream that they have. If, at this point, you are not bleeding out your last on the coop floor, she attacks you with her talons, yes, talons, and tries to remove your eyes.

    That my dear, is going broody. And people think PMS is bad.
  4. 3goodeggs

    3goodeggs pays attention sporadically

    May 22, 2009
    North Central Florida

  5. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Free Ranging 9 Years

    Feb 2, 2009
    Southeast Louisiana
    Don't believe everything you read. No chicken can count that well. When the hormones kick in, the chicken goes broody. That might be a week after they start laying or it might mean they never go broody.

    In the wild, a normal sequence is that the hen lays a brood of eggs, maybe a dozen or more, goes broody, hatches them out, and raises the chicks. When they are anywhere from maybe 3 to 10 weeks old, she weans them. Usually she rests a week or two, then starts laying eggs to start another brood.

    Our chickens are not in the wild. They have been domesticated and their instincts have been altered. They do not follow that normal in-the-wild sequence. Some will go broody even if you gather the eggs every day. Some never go broody even of you let the eggs pile up. By domesticating them, we have altered the going broody instinct. Remarkably, when they do go broody, most of them still have really good mothering instincts. Most of them, not necessarily all of them.

    There is no telling when a hen will stop being broody if she does not hatch chicks. Occasionally some will stop before three weeks, but often they will stay broody for a couple of months or even more if they do not hatch chicks. For a few, it seems like it might last forever, but most will eventually give up even if they does not hatch any eggs and you do not break her from being broody. But for some, that can be several months.

    Once they wean their chicks or are broken from being broody, they will lay eggs again. Most of mine start to lay within a week or two. I have had one start laying before she weaned her chicks, about three weeks after she hatched them. One started a molt while she was raising her chicks so she waited until the molt was over to start laying.

    I cannot tell you when a hen will go broody or when she will start to lay again after being broody. But I can tell you that chickens cannot count and they are not consistent.
  6. Egghead_Jr

    Egghead_Jr Crowing 7 Years

    Oct 16, 2010
    NEK, VT
    On occasion everyone has been so immersed with an idea or situation as to not let it go. Play it over and over in ones mind to plan or simply relent from letting it go. Yes, we all have brooded over one thing or another, work, taxes or lost love. Just when chickens do it it's only for one thing- hatching.
  7. mikecnorthwest

    mikecnorthwest Songster

    Mar 27, 2009
    Vancouver, WA
    My Coop
    When mine have gone broody I just reach in and take the eggs. Some of the hens have been a little vocal but nothing outrageous. I don't do anything special for a broody hen, I just let her get over it in her own natural time.

  8. pgpoultry

    pgpoultry Songster

    Oct 16, 2009
    Broodiness, as previously stated, is due to a hormonal change and this waxes and them wanes gradually.

    I have Brahma hens who have been broody all summer long (more on than off) and several have hatched broods of chicks. I have NEVER had an aggressive broody. I have had the puffing up and the Whaaaaaa noise, but mine have all been relaxed enough for me to look under them, remove eggs which they have added to their clutches etc. I have also been lucky enough to have hens who have taken to chicks passed from one hen to another if one of the hen's eggs has failed to hatch. I don't think this is down to me, it is down to them being laid-back Brahma hens who are a joy to look after.

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