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Has she gone broody?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Lisa202, Feb 5, 2011.

  1. Lisa202

    Lisa202 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have 10 18 week old bantams (9 girls and 1 boy) 4 or 5 have been laying for about 2 to 3 weeks now. Today I notice one of my EE's hasn't left the nesting box all day and she looks all squatty, flat and mean. I tried to get her to move and she just sat there and growled. I looked under her (with caution) and the other girls eggs are under her (at least 3, maybe 4).

    Is she being broody? And what should I expect if she is?
    I know I should keep food and water for her, but the main coop food and water is within 2 feet from her. Is that close enough?

    I'm not sure if I want chicks or not...I don't know what to do. (I wouldn't want another roo).

    Can I possibly stop this broodiness and get her back to laying?

    And if I decide to take the eggs, will they be ok to eat after being all hot underneath for for a day (or 2)?
     
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2011
  2. Judy

    Judy Moderator Staff Member

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    Yep, you've got a broody, if she keeps that up for a few more days. Broodiness is just hormones and sometimes, especially with young pullets, the hormone level isn't that high and they quit. Some broodies can be broken just by taking them off the nest and sort of chasing them til they go out, eat drink, etc. a couple of times a day. The classic method if they're more resistant is put them in a wire cage for a few days with no bedding and placed so air flows under them. If they're really determined, the only things that will break them are time (weeks, sometimes), hatching eggs, or slipping day old chicks under them after a week or two.

    Normally a broody will get off the nest once or twice a day and eat, drink and poop, and probably go outside and scratch and dust bathe a bit, too; usually 10-20 minutes, depending how cold it is out.

    If you let her hatch, it's best to collect the eggs for hatching yourself then put them under her all at once so they will hatch about the same time. Others=wise, when a few chicks have hatched, she will abandon the other eggs to care for the chicks. Also they really do best in a separate broody area or pen. Stops others from laying in their nest on top of them and stops them from stealing others' eggs, one of which is happening.

    Probably the eggs are still OK even the next day, certainly on the day they're laid even if she's sat on them all day. Any time you are not sure if an egg is good, put it in cool water. If it sinks it's good; if it floats it's not. You can always crack it into a separate bowl, of course.

    All about broodies:

    http://www.themodernhomestead.us/article/Broody-Hens-1.html
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 5, 2011
  3. Lisa202

    Lisa202 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    thanks ddawn,
    that was the best explanation I've seen and really helped me make my decision.

    I went out there and picked her up and shooed her away and took the eggs. She went to the other chickens and didn't give me a hard time at all.

    It was so adorable...when I picked her up, there was only 1 egg under her. So then I picked her up again and the other 2 fell out from under her...she must have been holding them up with her feet.

    Thanks again!
     
  4. Judy

    Judy Moderator Staff Member

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    Glad I could help.

    Actually I think they get caught under their wings. With my last broody I once picked her up to check for extra eggs, and saw 6 eggs instead of 7. I thought one had been eaten or otherwise destroyed. Next day there were 7 chicks!
     
  5. Lisa202

    Lisa202 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    UPDATE

    Ok, this morning I went out to check on Greta and she was being broody again and when I picked her up, there were 2 new eggs under her. I thought that they don't lay when they are broody, but I'm almost sure she laid one of these as she's the only one so far that lays the bluish colored eggs. Is it possible that she laid one today because I took away all the eggs last night?
     
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2011
  6. Lisa202

    Lisa202 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    2nd UPDATE:


    For the past 2 days, I've been taking her off the nest and pushing her to get up, but she just sits wherever I put her. I've been taking all the eggs that she keeps collecting and just generally been annoying to her.

    So tonight when I got home from work, there she was, still broody. So I let her keep 2 new eggs that she took from two other chickens. I marked them and gave her a little cottage cheese (she took a couple bites).

    I'm so torn between letting her brood or trying to stop her. I don't want her to get weak, but I also don't want to keep annoying her like I am doing. I really don't know what to do.

    Any advice would be so helpful
     
  7. gryeyes

    gryeyes Covered in Pet Hair & Feathers

    If it were me, I would let her brood. But that is just me, and I don't mind the extra roos that might hatch. I understand the necessity for some folks to break a broody, but I still think it's cruel. If she wants to be a mommy, why not let her try?

    Now, about her laying eggs; she will either lay a few eggs to get to the number of eggs she wants to hatch - and that could be as few as one or as many as 10 - or she will steal eggs from other hens. If you leave those eggs with her, she may lay a few more or she may not. Other hens may lay eggs in her nest, too, when she gets off the nest each day. (That's why you mark the eggs you want to let her hatch.)

    You can keep food and water close to her. I doubt she'll get weak, although she will lose weight over the three weeks of incubation. It's nice to give her extra protein during her "confinement."
     
  8. Chicken.Lytle

    Chicken.Lytle Chillin' With My Peeps

  9. elmo

    elmo Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have a bantam hen that persistently goes broody and is trying right now. Last summer she persisted the full three weeks before she gave up, even though she had no eggs to sit on. I keep taking her off the nest and block off the nest at night so she can't sit through the night. The other two times she tried to go broody with no eggs to sit on she gave up after a couple of days of my interruptions.

    When I let my hens hatch out clutches last spring, I weighed them at the end of the brooding period and they all had lost about 30 percent of their body weight. It's a pretty stressful activity.

    It's pretty cold right now where you live, right? Not the best time for a hen to be trying to hatch out chicks. Not nearly spring yet.
     
  10. Lisa202

    Lisa202 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Yes, it is cold here. That was my other concern...but I thought that the mother would keep them warm if they needed it. And by the time they would hatch, it would be March and not as cold. I don't knowwwwwww.

    I'm just hoping that she gives up in a day or 2. This morning she did get up to go get food with the others, but then she was right back on her nest shortly after.

    oh, and the incubator thing?...I don't have one of those and really didn't want to get involved with that...not yet anyway. Chickens are so new to me. I just got these as babies in mid Sept and everything is happening so fast.

    Seriously, I'm so confused. One minute I'm thinking "stop her", the next minute I'm thinking "let her do it"...no, "stop her"...no,"let her do it"...."stop her"..."let her do it"... [​IMG] [​IMG]

    Yeh, chickens make me happy...and a little crazy...
     
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2011

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