Help! Question about how to encourage a hen to become broody...

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Kelly G, Jan 4, 2009.

  1. Kelly G

    Kelly G It's like herding cats!

    I have 5 barred rock pullets that are 23 weeks old this week. They just started laying - YIPEEEE!!! I would like to add Wyandottes and a couple of White Crested Black Polish.

    No one is broody at this time.
    Can you make/encourage a hen to become broody?
    Are my hens too young to become broody now?
    Are they too young to raise a clutch?
    Once they are broody, how much time do you have to order eggs and get them under her?
    How do you seperate her from the other hens so they don't pester her or canablize the chicks? Can you use a dog kennel to keep her separate but still part of the flock?
    How and when do you re-introduce the chicks to the flock (I plan to hand rear the hatched chicks).

    Any help would be appreciated!
     
  2. katrinag

    katrinag Chillin' With My Peeps

    You can not make them go broody.
    I would 23 week is a little young.
    Once they go broody the will stay that way to you give them eggs or stop the broodyness.
    Yes you can use a crate to seperat them.
     
  3. swtangel321

    swtangel321 ~Crazy Egg Lady~

    Jul 11, 2008
    Quote:CONGRATS on them starting to lay !!!!

    First you should wait a month or so before hatching there eggs, pullets eggs arent the best to hatch !!

    Hate to tell you this but BR's arent known to go broody that often, I'm not saying they wont but they arent known as great sitters !! To be honest NONE of my 25+ BR's have ever gone broody. If your looking for a hen to hatch eggs for you I would looking in to getting a silkie hen or another breed that will go broody for you !!

    As far as making a hen go broody, no you cant !! It's a hormone thing in the hen. Some might say you can do things to make her broody but a REAL broody will do it when she is ready (usally not when you want them to)

    23 weeks is young for a pullet to hatch eggs, somtimes young pullets dont make great sitters or mama hens. Again all chickens are different. I had a silkie who was a GREAT mama at 7 months !! But then again she is a silkie and a known breed to be broody !!

    A broody will usally sit on the nest in till the chicks hatch, if nothing hatches she could stay sitting for a while (some have had broodys sit for months) which can be bad for them since it takes a lot of them to be broody !! So if you get eggs within a week or so you should be fine !!

    I dont seperate my broodys from the flock, everyone gets along fine and mama will protect her eggs and her chicks once they hatch, broodys can become very mean while hatching.

    Good luck, hope this helped !!
     
  4. Kelly G

    Kelly G It's like herding cats!

    Thanks a ton, guys!!!!!

    SWTangel - that was very, very helpful info. I think I will probably just order from MyPetChicken this spring! :)

    You have saved me a lot of frustration!! Big hug!
     
  5. jossanne

    jossanne Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 11, 2008
    Gila, New Mexico
    My sister's BOs started going broody at 7 months. She had two set clutches of eggs. I know that one had 2 hatch, but both babies died. I never heard how the other clutch did.

    I bought bantam cochins to be setters for me. You have to be careful with this method, though, because they're like potato chips... you can't have just one, or even just five! I need more!
     
  6. Sunny Side Up

    Sunny Side Up Count your many blessings...

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    Whenever possible, I try to give my broodies a separate place to set. Because sometimes when they've tried setting in one of the row of nest boxes another hen will scootch in to lay an egg in the nest and the broody will go take her brief lunch/poop break and return to the wrong nest box to continue setting. Then her incubating eggs get cold and the whole project is a loss. So I try to get her settled into a crate, box or bucket in the coop, then after a few days move the whole container into a more secluded/confined spot, after dark.

    I also prefer to let the hen raise the chicks in a separate pen. Usually the other hens won't bother the chicks, or if they do, either the Mama hen defends them or the chickies can run away to safety before too much harm is done. But all the adult birds love to gobble up the chick starter as if it were candy, and since it's more expensive than layer pellets, I can't afford to let everyone eat it. So I keep the Mamas & the chicks separate so only they can eat the starter feed.

    Some Mamas will leave their chicks as early as 6 weeks, others as late as 12, some even later. I let the Mamas return to the flock whenever they're ready, and keep the chicks on the starter feed until 18-20 weeks, then add them to the flock.

    My mixed-breed bantams are my best brooders. I let them get started on their biddy eggs, then swap them for standard-sized eggs one night. It's funny to see these big standard chicks running after their tiny bantam Mommies. Let your Mama hens start raising your chicks, there's always time later to get them accustomed to you. Mama hens teach their chicks important things no one else can teach them.
     
  7. dancingbear

    dancingbear Chillin' With My Peeps

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    If you intend to hand-raise chicks yourself, why would you want a hen hatch them? Why not get an incubator, hatch them yourself, and hand raise them? Otherwise, you have a stressed out hen that is freaked out because you stole her children. If the hen hatches them, let the hen raise them.

    Here's a link with a handy chart.
    http://www.ithaca.edu/staff/jhenderson/chooks/chooks.html
    On the right-hand side of the chart is shows whether the breed tends to brood or not. Right next to it, it tells basic behavior of that breed, so you can select birds that are the best suited to your situation. The other side of the chart includes links to other sites, where you can see photos of the breed, and read a little more about them.

    Plymouth Rocks brood, but rarely. When they do, they are good moms, but odds are against one setting to begin with.

    Wyandottes have the same tendency as the Rocks, rarely brood, but good moms if they do.

    Polish are non-setters.

    If you want hens to hatch eggs, you need a breed that broods. Silkies are notorious brooders, but also notoriously evil, and the brood all the time, even in winter when you don't want them to. Cornish (NOT Cornish X's) are great brooders and excellent moms. So are Brahmas. Australorps are good, too. New Hampshires are supposed to be good brooders, I haven't had any of those, so I can't say from my own experience, but I do have Cornish, Brahma, and Australorp.

    I suggest learning more about breeds, and broody behavior, and if you still want broodies, choose an appropriate breed. Bear in mind that broodies will go broody when the hormones tell them to, whether it's a good time for you, or not. Can you keep a rooster, where you are? If not, have you checked out the prices and shipping costs of fertile eggs? Do you know about the high risk of shipped eggs not hatching? I have lone Dorking hen, she cost me $21, because she was the only hatch out of 15 shipped eggs.

    You might do better just to buy some chicks when you want some. But please, do your homework first and select breeds appropriate for what you want. It'll save you and the chickens a lot of stress.

    And good for you, asking questions before jumping in! Everybody starts somewhere, questions are good!
     
  8. Kelly G

    Kelly G It's like herding cats!

    Quote:Thanks, again, all of you! I think, as I said above, I'll be placing an order from MPC this spring [​IMG]

    It doesn't sound like I have selected any breeds that "go broody", but I like my breeds, so I'll have to buy my chicks...not a bad price to pay!
     
  9. 92caddy

    92caddy Egg Lover

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    Yes you CAN make a hen go broody! It can and will take some time, but it CAN be done. I wouldnt try it with a RIR. You put the hen that you want to go broody in a small box that is total dark, with a few small holes for air. You keep her in that box, only letting her out once a day to eat, drink and poo. Put some fake eggs under her while she is in the box. It may take a week or longer or a few days, it all depends on the hen. Or you could let some eggs in the nest, I use fake eggs, if you use fresh eggs, rotate them by takeing the oldest out and letting the fresher ones in the nest.

    I works, I have done it many of times. ...............
     
  10. gumpsgirl

    gumpsgirl Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

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    If you want a good broody, might I suggest you getting a Silkie? You can't beet them for going broody! If you are going to order chicks anyways, they would make a great choice.
     

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