Goofy hen...does this mean she'll be broody come springtime?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by DawnB, Feb 3, 2013.

  1. DawnB

    DawnB Chillin' With My Peeps

    So, I have a BR hen that's around 2yrs old. She's in with 11 other hens and 3 roo's. Lately, she's been guarding the eggs (not necessarily hers) and pecks at our boots when we go to collect eggs. She's not overly aggressive, but let's us know that we're definitely disturbing her.

    We collect the eggs anyway [​IMG]. Usually a couple of pats on her backside will make her move. Is this just normal behavior for some hens? My others don't show the slightest hesitation to move aside (or are aggressive any way) when we get eggs, just her. I was just wondering if this was a red flag that she may go broody as the weather warmed up.

    She's only been doing this for the last few weeks. They had a rough move here and were pretty plucked over. They had a bit of a rest, molt and finally feathered out and started laying somewhat regularly just as the days began to shorten (around the end of October). Then, they went into another egg vaca when the temps really dropped around here. So, I really don't know if she is getting back to her "normal" personality.

    What has your experience been? Just a crabby hen, or should I be on the lookout for broody hen soon?

    Thanks.
    Dawn
     
  2. missnu01

    missnu01 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Well usually a hen that doesn't get off the nest when they see you coming is probably giving it some serious thought. Have you thought about leaving the eggs a day or 2 to see if she will actually set them? Then again it's probably better to wait til spring...but the sooner you have chicks the sooner you have chicks...and a broody hen can keep chicks warmer than a light bulb ever thought of. I wouldn't want to brood chicks in winter, but a broody can brood in wintery conditions with minimal issue...as long as they don't leave the nest for too long of a period. Mine wants to go broody, but it is so cold that by the time she has all her eggs amassed all the earlier ones are in all likelihood going to be dead...so we just keep taking the eggs...As soon as it's warm though I will not disturb her random little nests I keep catching her on. All of my other hens lay an egg and then step back out of the nest like hmm glad that's over... but not this one..she always wants to spend a little time with her eggs.
     
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2013
  3. DawnB

    DawnB Chillin' With My Peeps

    Yep, that's what she's doing too...but, like you...I don't really want to deal with a broody now. It's in the negatives with the wind chill and it will be for a while. I get eggs that freeze and split if I don't collect them every few hours during the day. Unfortunately, I don't think leaving eggs will be an option for a while. Guess we'll just keep collecting eggs for now. [​IMG]

    Besides, I will be ordering a batch of chicks here in the next week that I hope to get by the end of the month. I only got this batch of hens back in August. It was an established flock (they're all about 2yrs) and I really wanted to do a round of chicks that I ordered before I dealt with either incubating or letting the hens do the work.

    Also, this lot isn't real fond of egg boxes (I only have 1 that uses them regularly...I kinda had that feeling, so I've only got temp boxes now). The folks who had them first weren't real big into training them to use them and now they lay all over the coop. [​IMG] But, a handful really like the corner that the possible broody has adopted for her own. I plan on building permanent egg boxes in the Spring. So, she'll just have to wait her turn! Ha!

    Thanks for the feedback.
     
  4. missnu01

    missnu01 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My sometimes mama hen was laying her eggs in strange spots...so I made an egg out of sculpey clay and put it in the nest box that nobody used, and then all the hens started using that nest box, but then mama went and laid an egg in a large dog crate I have up there as a broody box, (like I wanted her to) but now all the chickens go and lay in the dog crate...Lol. Once a hen actually goes broody I can shut them in the crate and then move them wherever works the best at the time...Right now it is a hassle to climb into the dog crate...it's like Great Dane sized...so I have to climb in and crawl all the way to the back and reach for the eggs...kind of sux. But whatever. At least they aren't under the stairs or roosts. They all ignore my fake egg now though...but for a week it worked.
     
  5. goose4

    goose4 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Our chickens love the pet crate too. It is a medium sized dog crate and it will fit up to 5 chickens at a time. Some will sit on top and wait their turn for the crate. It is always nice and toasty warm in there even when it is below zero outside.
     
  6. DawnB

    DawnB Chillin' With My Peeps

    Are you guys using the dog crates with the plastic sides (usually tan or grey)? Just curious...What is the best way to segregate a broody hen? Does she just take over one of the nesting boxes or do you separate her out more than that?

    Thanks again...and sorry if these are repeat questions...it's hard to sift through all the info on here sometimes to find what I'm looking for.


    Dawn
     
  7. goose4

    goose4 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Yes, ours is a plastic dog crate with metal in the door.
     

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