Fall brooding? Story and questions

MotherHen2017

Chirping
Aug 8, 2017
32
43
59
So, about 6 weeks ago my Sussex hen went broody on me. I've never gone through this, so with much excitement I set her with the days eggs. I wasn't sure anything would really happen, but 3 weeks later we have 3 of the cutest little fluff balls!

To my surprise though, just a couple of days before my Sussex hens eggs were due to hatch I had another hen go broody. So, after a few days we set her with some eggs. Her eggs should be hatching any time now.

So last night I go out to collect the days eggs from my hens who are still laying, and lo and behold there's another hen sitting on the eggs!

So here's what I'm wondering. Firstly, is it normal for hens to go broody this time of year as the weather is getting colder? Secondly, what is up with them going broody one at a time every 3 weeks?! Haha!

I don't have the space to be putting all these hens who decide every 3 weeks that they want to have babies! Haha!
 

MotherHen2017

Chirping
Aug 8, 2017
32
43
59
Sorry no answer for you but I think that's awesome. Some day we will live outside of town can't wait then we can hatch our own eggs
I must admit I am loving it. Watching the mama hen teach her babies is amazing! I'm just worrying about keeping them safe and warm until I integrate them back into the flock.

Suppose if I talk to them they'll hold off on wanting more babies until spring? Haha
 

hlhutchinson

Songster
Aug 26, 2015
642
661
201
Casper Wyo
I must admit I am loving it. Watching the mama hen teach her babies is amazing! I'm just worrying about keeping them safe and warm until I integrate them back into the flock.

Suppose if I talk to them they'll hold off on wanting more babies until spring? Haha
Lol yes I think having a sit down talk with them and explaining about the upcoming weather will do the trick hahaha
 
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Ridgerunner

Free Ranging
10 Years
Feb 2, 2009
24,145
12,203
707
Southeast Louisiana
You can try having a Popeye’s or Kentucky Fried poster in the background when you have that conversation but it didn’t work with mine. They just ignored me. Probably thought I was bluffing. :oops:

You don’t say where you are so I have no idea what your weather is like. Before they were domesticated it was very unusual for a hen to go broody this time of year. When the days get shorter they quit laying eggs and use the nutrition that was going into making eggs for growing new feathers as they molt. That way they did not try to raise chicks in the bad weather months when food was scarce. Come spring they’d start laying again and going broody.

But we’ve domesticated them, we keep them well fed year around. Often they get extra light, from security lights or street lights, so the days get extended. Length of day and days getting shorter have an effect. It’s still a little unusual for them to go broody this time of year but I have two hens in my broody buster right now. There are threads on here where a hen hatched and raised chicks in weather with temperatures regularly below freezing. It’s more risky for a hen to raise chicks in that kind of weather since what may be an inconvenience in the summer can become fatal in really cold weather, but for the most part they can handle it.

That three week thing is just a coincidence. There is no telling when any of them will go broody.

If you haven’t done it you need to ask yourself a few questions before you set any more eggs. What are you going to do with the cockerels and pullets that hatch? You will almost certainly get both. Do you have enough room for those chicks to grow to maturity during the winter? Often space becomes pretty tight when it snows and having immature chickens with the flock requires more space. I have no idea what your set-up or goals are, you may have all this covered. In any case, good luck!
 

song of joy

Crowing
7 Years
Apr 22, 2012
1,191
653
251
Central Pennsylvania
I think broodiness is somewhat contagious. I've noticed that when one of my hens goes broody, it's fairly common for a couple more to go broody over the next few weeks. Certainly time of year also plays a part, but I have a 4 year old hen that never went broody until June every year . . . that is, until this year when some of my other hens went broody in March and April. She promptly went broody in early April for the first time ever.

With regard to flock integration, let the broody hen integrate her chicks into the flock. I usually separate my broody hens from the flock during incubation, hatching, and for the first week or so after the hatch. After that, I let her mingle freely with the rest of the flock. It's so much easier to let her do all the work, from brooding to flock integration!

As to broodiness in fall and winter, like ridgerunner noted it can and does happen fairly often. One of my hens went broody and disappeared recently. For the life of me, I can't find the nest. She appeared briefly yesterday, but disappeared again before I could track her to a nest. If a predator doesn't take her, she may show up with chicks at some point over the next couple of weeks. That presents the dilemma of what to do with the chicks???
 
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hlhutchinson

Songster
Aug 26, 2015
642
661
201
Casper Wyo
You can try having a Popeye’s or Kentucky Fried poster in the background when you have that conversation but it didn’t work with mine. They just ignored me. Probably thought I was bluffing. :oops:

You don’t say where you are so I have no idea what your weather is like. Before they were domesticated it was very unusual for a hen to go broody this time of year. When the days get shorter they quit laying eggs and use the nutrition that was going into making eggs for growing new feathers as they molt. That way they did not try to raise chicks in the bad weather months when food was scarce. Come spring they’d start laying again and going broody.

But we’ve domesticated them, we keep them well fed year around. Often they get extra light, from security lights or street lights, so the days get extended. Length of day and days getting shorter have an effect. It’s still a little unusual for them to go broody this time of year but I have two hens in my broody buster right now. There are threads on here where a hen hatched and raised chicks in weather with temperatures regularly below freezing. It’s more risky for a hen to raise chicks in that kind of weather since what may be an inconvenience in the summer can become fatal in really cold weather, but for the most part they can handle it.

That three week thing is just a coincidence. There is no telling when any of them will go broody.

If you haven’t done it you need to ask yourself a few questions before you set any more eggs. What are you going to do with the cockerels and pullets that hatch? You will almost certainly get both. Do you have enough room for those chicks to grow to maturity during the winter? Often space becomes pretty tight when it snows and having immature chickens with the flock requires more space. I have no idea what your set-up or goals are, you may have all this covered. In any case, good luck!
lol
 

MotherHen2017

Chirping
Aug 8, 2017
32
43
59
You can try having a Popeye’s or Kentucky Fried poster in the background when you have that conversation but it didn’t work with mine. They just ignored me. Probably thought I was bluffing. :oops:

Hahaha! I nearly spit my coffee when I read that. I have a feeling my hens won't take me seriously either. Haha

I live in New Brunswick, Canada. We've had great weather lately, but could have snow falling by early next month. I'm very hesitant to set another chicken with eggs. Space being the biggest issue.

Whether I like it or not any roosters we get will likely become soup. I have lots of space for hens, but once the roosters reach maturity there won't be enough space for the roosters to live in harmony. Lol

I've started giving my current flock the chance to "meet" the 3 week old chicks. They've shown interest in them, but so far mama doesn't let the other hens get too close. So I just let them all roam freely around the yard and I'm hoping by the time I have to move them all in together it won't create too much of an issue with establishing pecking order.
 

MotherHen2017

Chirping
Aug 8, 2017
32
43
59
With regard to flock integration, let the broody hen integrate her chicks into the flock. I usually separate my broody hens from the flock during incubation, hatching, and for the first week or so after the hatch. After that, I let her mingle freely with the rest of the flock. It's so much easier to let her do all the work, from brooding to flock integration!

As to broodiness in fall and winter, like ridgerunner noted it can and does happen fairly often. One of my hens went broody and disappeared recently. For the life of me, I can't find the nest. She appeared briefly yesterday, but disappeared again before I could track her to a nest. If a predator doesn't take her, she may show up with chicks at some point over the next couple of weeks. That presents the dilemma of what to do with the chicks???
So you reintegrate the new chicks with your flock fairly quickly? Are there ever issues with the chicks getting picked on when they're that young? I'm most concerned about my rooster causing issues. But so far wandering around the yard the rooster has pretty much ignored them.

Good luck as well with your missing broody! I hope the predators leave her be. I'm Curtis to see what you end up with in a couple of weeks. :)
 

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