First time broody, first time chook mom to a broody!

rumbleBee_STi

Songster
Jun 10, 2020
315
410
156
Sylva, North Carolina
It seems like the warm weather is gone for good now, & cold weather has been hitting hard, sometimes down into the teens at night....sadness. One of my little silkie/Cochin bantam girls decided this would be the perfect time to go broody. This is my first year raising chickens, never had one of my girls go full broody before. I didn’t have the heart to break her from it, so now we’re on day 7 of egg sitting. 👑🥳 Ive brought her inside for the time being, I’ve read broodies don’t take great care of themselves during this time & only get up to eat, drink, & poop 1 or 2 times a day, if that. My plan was to place her & her eggs back into the run several days before they’re due to hatch & fix up a nursery part of the run for her & her babies to go into. Any tips or suggestions that I need to know or be aware of?

F300D599-ADD9-44E2-B951-95E1FAE01137.jpeg
3DD5D5D1-F3C5-4916-826C-4169986A9FC9.jpeg
 

DobieLover

Easily distracted by chickens
Premium Feather Member
Jul 23, 2018
34,617
282,161
1,642
NY Southern Tier
My Coop
My Coop
It seems like the warm weather is gone for good now, & cold weather has been hitting hard, sometimes down into the teens at night....sadness. One of my little silkie/Cochin bantam girls decided this would be the perfect time to go broody. This is my first year raising chickens, never had one of my girls go full broody before. I didn’t have the heart to break her from it, so now we’re on day 7 of egg sitting. 👑🥳 Ive brought her inside for the time being, I’ve read broodies don’t take great care of themselves during this time & only get up to eat, drink, & poop 1 or 2 times a day, if that. My plan was to place her & her eggs back into the run several days before they’re due to hatch & fix up a nursery part of the run for her & her babies to go into. Any tips or suggestions that I need to know or be aware of?

View attachment 2437902 View attachment 2437909
Did you move her and then give her fertile eggs?
Or did you move her after she started setting on fetlife eggs?
If you try to move her a few days before hatch there is a high probability that she will freak out and damage the eggs. Broodies graft to the nesting site more than the eggs. Frequently, when you first move a broody to where you want her to set and hatch they panic and try to get back to where they went broody.
Removing her from the flock while she is setting prevents her from maintaining inclusion in the flock.
Putting her back in after the chicks hatch could be disastrous for her and the chicks.
Do you have an incubator? If so, I would transfer the eggs into it then move her back into the flock on a ground nest that is somewhat private for her but not where she can't get off and away from the nest to poop, eat, drink and dust bathe. Give her fake eggs and see if she'll settle on them. Monitor her to make sure she keeps going back to the nest. If she does, give the fertile eggs back to her. If she doesn't and she breaks, you'll have to hatch and raise the chicks.
How large is your setup? Do you have room for her to raise these chicks?
What is the flock currently eating?
 

rumbleBee_STi

Songster
Jun 10, 2020
315
410
156
Sylva, North Carolina
Did you move her and then give her fertile eggs?
Or did you move her after she started setting on fetlife eggs?
If you try to move her a few days before hatch there is a high probability that she will freak out and damage the eggs. Broodies graft to the nesting site more than the eggs. Frequently, when you first move a broody to where you want her to set and hatch they panic and try to get back to where they went broody.
Removing her from the flock while she is setting prevents her from maintaining inclusion in the flock.
Putting her back in after the chicks hatch could be disastrous for her and the chicks.
Do you have an incubator? If so, I would transfer the eggs into it then move her back into the flock on a ground nest that is somewhat private for her but not where she can't get off and away from the nest to poop, eat, drink and dust bathe. Give her fake eggs and see if she'll settle on them. Monitor her to make sure she keeps going back to the nest. If she does, give the fertile eggs back to her. If she doesn't and she breaks, you'll have to hatch and raise the chicks.
How large is your setup? Do you have room for her to raise these chicks?
What is the flock currently eating?
Sorry to take so long to reply. Have a young cockerel who just had crop surgery last week & have been dealing with it some issues.

I noticed she had been staying in her coop all day & went to check & seen her sitting on 1 of her own eggs which she sat on the one egg for the rest of the day into the evening into the night. This was a day or 2 before the harsh cold weather hit so I decided to bring her inside with her one egg, then once getting her settled inside gave her 2 more eggs. I really don’t want to stress her by manually taking her off the nest, maybe moving her plus the cage she’s in in it’s entirety back to the flock way before her eggs hatch would be best? I do have an incubator, someone gave it to me but it’s missing the thermostat that controls the heat.

I have the broody on Purina layena crumble & the rest of the flock is on feather fixer due to them being rescues that I received who were in rough condition. The actual run for my bantams isn’t very large, they free range from 12pm-5pm during fall/winter & are in the run the remainder of time.
 

DobieLover

Easily distracted by chickens
Premium Feather Member
Jul 23, 2018
34,617
282,161
1,642
NY Southern Tier
My Coop
My Coop
Sorry to take so long to reply. Have a young cockerel who just had crop surgery last week & have been dealing with it some issues.

I noticed she had been staying in her coop all day & went to check & seen her sitting on 1 of her own eggs which she sat on the one egg for the rest of the day into the evening into the night. This was a day or 2 before the harsh cold weather hit so I decided to bring her inside with her one egg, then once getting her settled inside gave her 2 more eggs. I really don’t want to stress her by manually taking her off the nest, maybe moving her plus the cage she’s in in it’s entirety back to the flock way before her eggs hatch would be best? I do have an incubator, someone gave it to me but it’s missing the thermostat that controls the heat.

I have the broody on Purina layena crumble & the rest of the flock is on feather fixer due to them being rescues that I received who were in rough condition. The actual run for my bantams isn’t very large, they free range from 12pm-5pm during fall/winter & are in the run the remainder of time.
I assume she is in a dog crate?
Yes, move the entire dog crate out into the coop. Hopefully she will stay settled.
Giving her 2 more eggs 2 or 3 days after the she set the first egg may become an issue as they will now hatch staggered. She may wait out the two late hatchers or she may abandon them to raise the first that hatches if it's viable. Time will tell.
You need to take her off the layer feed.
I suggest putting her and the rest of the flock on Flock Raiser. It will be just as good as Feather Fixer for feather growth as it has 20% protein but won't have the excess calcium only active layers require. Put out a container or two of oyster shell on the side for free choice eating by the active layers. I also suggest feeding this way permanently.
When you move her, move her about 2 hours before roost time so she is more likely to stay calm.
Open her crate in the morning so she can come out and do her big broody poop, eat, drink, stretch and maybe take a dust bath. If she doesn't come out on her own, remove her and place her in the run or where ever the birds hang out during the day. Stay with her until she comes out of her trance. One of the hens may come up and give her a pop and that usually makes them snap out of it. Keep an eye on her for a bit to make sure she's okay. Then go and mark those eggs. Leave the door to the crate open and wait for her to finish her break and ensure she goes back to the crate. If she doesn't, correct her by putting her in the doorway of the crate and encouraging her to get back on the nest and then close the door. You will need to repeat managing her breaks and closing her in until she reliably returns the nest without correction at least 3 times. Then leave the door open so she can come and go as she needs.
I like to manage my broodies to ensure they get off the nest once a day so I always remove them from the nest just before I begin morning chores so I can observe them as I work. You can inspect the nest when she is off to make sure there are no errant eggs in it that must be removed.
I also suggest candling the eggs on day 7 and day 14 and remove any that are not viable. If you aren't sure, post pictures.
 

Ridgerunner

Crossing the Road
12 Years
Feb 2, 2009
28,044
22,696
907
Southeast Louisiana
You might look through this. It's long and lots or details but they were in Michigan, colder than you will see.

http://www.backyardchickens.com/t/947046/broody-in-michigan-winter

only get up to eat, drink, & poop 1 or 2 times a day, if that.

Before a hen even starts to lay she puts on a lot of excess fat. Most of that is stored in a pad in the pelvic area but some more is scattered all around. That is in case she goes broody. That fat is what a broody mostly lives on while she is broody. That way she can spend her time in the nest instead of having to go out looking for food. You'll read posts on here where people consider that horrible, she's losing condition while broody. That's nonsense. She will lose weight while broody but that's normal and natural. It's fat put there for that purpose. The more she eats and drinks when she is off the nest the longer that fat will last but she should have plenty for a normal length incubation even in your temperatures.

In warm weather I've seen a broody hen come off the nest twice a day and stay off for an hour each time. In cooler weather I've seen a hen come off once a day for about 15 minutes. They both had great hatches. Often I don't see them come off at all but since they are not pooping in the nest they are coming off.

I'm not going to get into the rest of it. Lots of ways you can proceed. I just did not want you needlessly worrying about her not coming off the nest much. Chickens have been incubating eggs for thousands of years, long before they were domesticated. That fat is nature's way of taking care of them.
 

rumbleBee_STi

Songster
Jun 10, 2020
315
410
156
Sylva, North Carolina
I assume she is in a dog crate?
Yes, move the entire dog crate out into the coop. Hopefully she will stay settled.
Giving her 2 more eggs 2 or 3 days after the she set the first egg may become an issue as they will now hatch staggered. She may wait out the two late hatchers or she may abandon them to raise the first that hatches if it's viable. Time will tell.
You need to take her off the layer feed.
I suggest putting her and the rest of the flock on Flock Raiser. It will be just as good as Feather Fixer for feather growth as it has 20% protein but won't have the excess calcium only active layers require. Put out a container or two of oyster shell on the side for free choice eating by the active layers. I also suggest feeding this way permanently.
When you move her, move her about 2 hours before roost time so she is more likely to stay calm.
Open her crate in the morning so she can come out and do her big broody poop, eat, drink, stretch and maybe take a dust bath. If she doesn't come out on her own, remove her and place her in the run or where ever the birds hang out during the day. Stay with her until she comes out of her trance. One of the hens may come up and give her a pop and that usually makes them snap out of it. Keep an eye on her for a bit to make sure she's okay. Then go and mark those eggs. Leave the door to the crate open and wait for her to finish her break and ensure she goes back to the crate. If she doesn't, correct her by putting her in the doorway of the crate and encouraging her to get back on the nest and then close the door. You will need to repeat managing her breaks and closing her in until she reliably returns the nest without correction at least 3 times. Then leave the door open so she can come and go as she needs.
I like to manage my broodies to ensure they get off the nest once a day so I always remove them from the nest just before I begin morning chores so I can observe them as I work. You can inspect the nest when she is off to make sure there are no errant eggs in it that must be removed.
I also suggest candling the eggs on day 7 and day 14 and remove any that are not viable. If you aren't sure, post pictures.
Just to clarify, I brought her inside the day after she first started to sit, & gave her the 2 extra eggs then. I have trouble explaining step by step in text for some reason. I did not want her to deal with staggered hatching just in case she did end up abandoning the remaining eggs. Yes she’s in a dog crate, I will probably try getting her moved outside later this evening & then during my morning routine with letting chickens & ducks out I will monitor mama. That’s excellent advice, I mentioned to my husband about taking everyone off of Layena & switching to All Flock, so I will definitely do that now. You mentioned marking the eggs, what am I marking them for exactly?

She is on day 12 of sitting now, I’ve candled 2 eggs today & I could see movement of the tiny growing chick in both eggs. I got side tracked before getting the 3rd egg candled. I will candle them all again later today to verify that all 3 are still viable.
 

rumbleBee_STi

Songster
Jun 10, 2020
315
410
156
Sylva, North Carolina
You might look through this. It's long and lots or details but they were in Michigan, colder than you will see.

http://www.backyardchickens.com/t/947046/broody-in-michigan-winter

only get up to eat, drink, & poop 1 or 2 times a day, if that.

Before a hen even starts to lay she puts on a lot of excess fat. Most of that is stored in a pad in the pelvic area but some more is scattered all around. That is in case she goes broody. That fat is what a broody mostly lives on while she is broody. That way she can spend her time in the nest instead of having to go out looking for food. You'll read posts on here where people consider that horrible, she's losing condition while broody. That's nonsense. She will lose weight while broody but that's normal and natural. It's fat put there for that purpose. The more she eats and drinks when she is off the nest the longer that fat will last but she should have plenty for a normal length incubation even in your temperatures.

In warm weather I've seen a broody hen come off the nest twice a day and stay off for an hour each time. In cooler weather I've seen a hen come off once a day for about 15 minutes. They both had great hatches. Often I don't see them come off at all but since they are not pooping in the nest they are coming off.

I'm not going to get into the rest of it. Lots of ways you can proceed. I just did not want you needlessly worrying about her not coming off the nest much. Chickens have been incubating eggs for thousands of years, long before they were domesticated. That fat is nature's way of taking care of them.
Thank you for that. I will dive into that post. Kinda wish I would’ve posted this question before moving her now 🤦🏻‍♀️ I had no clue about that extra layer of fat forming, it’s much like a female human I assume. I unnecessarily overthink & over complicate a lot of these things, when chickens have been doing this thing their entire lives way before domestication, like you said. If you can’t tell, I like making things harder for myself. It’s a gift. 💁🏻‍♀️ @DobieLover @Ridgerunner thank you both for your guidance. I would be feeling around in the dark all the time if it weren’t for you knowledgeable angels on BYC 🙌🏼
 

Ridgerunner

Crossing the Road
12 Years
Feb 2, 2009
28,044
22,696
907
Southeast Louisiana
what am I marking them for exactly?

If other hens can get to her nest or she can get to other hens' nests new eggs can show up. Often other hens lay in a broody's nest. Some broody hens have been known to carry eggs back to their nest. Hey, chickens can do remarkable things.

If you mark the eggs that are supposed to be there you can check under her every day after the others have laid and remove any that don't belong so you don't have a staggered hatch. As long as you remove them every day they are fine to eat.

I use a black Sharpie and draw two circles on the egg, one the long way and one the short so I can see at a glance which eggs belong. Others might write a date on them or mark them some other way.
 

rumbleBee_STi

Songster
Jun 10, 2020
315
410
156
Sylva, North Carolina
what am I marking them for exactly?

If other hens can get to her nest or she can get to other hens' nests new eggs can show up. Often other hens lay in a broody's nest. Some broody hens have been known to carry eggs back to their nest. Hey, chickens can do remarkable things.

If you mark the eggs that are supposed to be there you can check under her every day after the others have laid and remove any that don't belong so you don't have a staggered hatch. As long as you remove them every day they are fine to eat.

I use a black Sharpie and draw two circles on the egg, one the long way and one the short so I can see at a glance which eggs belong. Others might write a date on them or mark them some other way.
Ahhh oh okay I see. Fortunately, she’s my only bantam who lays & none of my big girls have access to her nest. But I will take note of that for when my biggies ever go broody! 😊
 

rumbleBee_STi

Songster
Jun 10, 2020
315
410
156
Sylva, North Carolina
@Ridgerunner @DobieLover Just in case y’all wanted to see some very cute babies! My broody was sitting on 3 eggs only. The white/silver baby is a (very) mixed breed bantam & black w/white chin baby is a buff Brahma/black copper Maran mix & both hatched yesterday on day 21, the third baby is also a mixed breed bantam & hatched earlier this morning, I haven’t taken his/her pic yet. 🥰
1DF5497D-0FE3-457F-A96C-A6F4BDAB8FE3.jpeg
668F36B8-A849-4CFF-A069-905F78BE15BD.jpeg
F89362D7-8B3A-4906-82D4-4D3AF3FDC06E.jpeg
 

New posts New threads Active threads

Top Bottom