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help with possible broody pullet for new chicken owner

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by beginnergirl, Oct 30, 2015.

  1. beginnergirl

    beginnergirl Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My 27 week old EE Clover has been laying consistently for a few weeks. She has always taken forever sitting in the nest box, so much that my BR will squawk so she can lay in the same box. Clover sits in the nest for a long, long time.

    I started finding a few downy feathers in the nest box the last few days and yesterday when I gave the girls treats, Clover was in the nest box and did not get out to forage for treats in the run as she usually does. She growled at me and puffed up her feathers when I tried to give her a favorite treat, raisins. A little velociraptor! Very intimidating. One hour later, she's still on that nest. Thankfully in the afternoon I went to let the girls into the yard and she was in the run and went into the yard. But she went back to sit on the nest again[​IMG] while the others were outside.

    Today she had her morning treats, ate and pooped but was back on the nest and refused to go out into the yard. She did roost last night. And I bravely grabbed the eggs from under her. LOL. They were so warm!

    I had decided if one of the girls went broody, that I would find some eggs to hatch. BUT I will be out of town for Thanksgiving and do not want them to hatch when I am not home... Bad timing. Don't know what to do. I do not want to dunk her in cold water or suspend her in a wire cage though.

    Will this pass without hatching eggs? Can I wait 10-12 days to give her eggs? If I order eggs and might only want 2 additional girls, how many eggs would you order? I don't have anyone who would take the cockerels so I don't want to get too many eggs. If only 50% is an average hatch rate and 50% are females, should I get 8-9 eggs? Or do you allow for some breaking? If she has chicks will she stop being broody? I don't want only one new chick to integrate in the flock, right?

    I pray she gets over her possible broody ways. I am still learning so much about chickens and getting comfortable with the pecking order, etc. I am not ready for new challenges... One girl has only laid one egg and then stopped. But that is another question.

    Winter seems like a hard time to have chicks. Would mom keep them warm outside in winter? It is usually in the 40s and 50s in winter here. If I wait to order fertile eggs, is there a way I would know if she would abandon them? She is still laying but has the most determined look on her face.

    Also, if we do get fertile eggs and I keep her in the coop with the other two, do I need to create a separate area for them when the chicks hatch?

    Sorry for all the questions, but I don't know what to do!!! Thanks...
     
  2. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

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    Sounds like maybe right now isn't a good time to hatch eggs for you, it's best to wait until you can be there and until you know what you will do with any male chicks, 50% is the average but you could end up with all males.

    If you don't wish to take it on right now you have two options, break her by putting her in a wire bottom cage elevated off the floor for a few days which should cool her off and stop the broodiness, or you could let her sit there until you get some eggs, most hens will sit for a couple of months if not dealt with, if you break her she will eventually become broody again.

    I've never had trouble with only one chick as the mom looks out for it, if you decide to hatch you will need to separate the hen and chicks for a few weeks within the coop is best to help with integration.
     
    Last edited: Oct 30, 2015
    1 person likes this.
  3. beginnergirl

    beginnergirl Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Very helpful. I don't think I can put my sweetie in a small hanging wire cage. Since she will only go broody again it doesn't make sense.

    Guess I will order some eggs to hatch at the end of November. The weather will be getting nicer here at the end of February when chicks can go outside. Dang I would cry if I got all cockerels!!!!! Appreciate all your support. I was just beginning to feel more comfortable with my tiny flock.
     
  4. CTKen

    CTKen Monkey business Premium Member

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    Hi,

    If you are not ready to let her hatch eggs for a couple of weeks, its fine to let her continue being broody. However, if you do not intend for her to hatch eggs then it is in the hens interest that you break her broodiness as not eating sufficiently and sitting all day will cause her to lose condition and be more susceptible to illness.

    If she roosted last night, then she is not totally ready for eggs at the moment.

    Sorry, you will not know if she will abandon eggs until you try! If its her first time, she may or may not do well. You can always leave her with golf balls for the time being and see if she continues to roost - at least it should give you an indication when she is ready for fertile eggs.

    I live in the tropics, so winters are not something i have to deal with, but i have read that other BYCers do hatch chicks during winter.

    I agree with oldhenlikes dogs in that you will need a mini-coop for mum and chicks (a dog / cat carrier is good - if you have one, but something makeshift will work equally well). Keep this in the main coop in order to make integration easy, and don't be afraid to let the chicks out with mum. I let my last hatch out when they were 2 days old and they were never pecked by any other member of the flock. They are now 4 weeks old and the little roos can get a little too bold with other flock members, but they seem to tolerate their silliness with a hard stare.

    Hope this helps a little

    Good luck

    CT
     
  5. CTKen

    CTKen Monkey business Premium Member

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    Take a look at another thread i have just read called "Broody hen?" - you may find it useful

    CT
     
  6. beginnergirl

    beginnergirl Chillin' With My Peeps

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    CTKen,

    This helps a lot! I will check to see if she roosted last night. IFigured out how to expand the coop by 9 sq feet. Is that big enough for Clover and chicks if she continues to sit on the nest? Figured out if I get fertile eggs November 9, they hopefully wouldn't hatch until Nov. 30 when I am home. Anything else I need to know?

    Now I need to figure out what kind of eggs to get. Have wanted silkies but it would be hard to have to raise them for many months to sex them and I don't know if they would be pecked on by my SLW, BR and EE. Like buff orphingtons and eggs are cheap. Cream legbars are interesting and egg color beautiful but eggs are expensive so probably not a good idea for a first time mom.

    Will check the thread you mentioned. Tried to find one before but many focused on breaking a broody. Appreciate all the help from experienced owners! So much to learn. Thanks!!!
     
    Last edited: Oct 31, 2015
  7. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler!

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    It's really not that big of a deal to put them in a broody breaker cage and it doesn't have to be a 'hanging' cage.
    She probably won't go broody again immediately, but may do so in the future.... like next spring.

    Keeping chickens will present lots of new challenges over the first couple years and it can be overwhelming.
    IMO breaking a broody is much simpler to learn than managing a setting broody and the subsequent chicks.
    Browse thru the 'broody hen thread' for a taste of what that might entail.


    My experience went like this: After her setting for 3 days and nights in the nest, I put her in a wire dog crate with smaller wire on the bottom but no bedding, set up on a couple of 4x4's right in the coop and I would feed her some crumble a couple times a day.

    I let her out a couple times a day and she would go out into the run, drop a huge turd, race around running, take a vigorous dust bath then head back to the nest... at which point I put her back in the crate. Each time her outings would lengthen a bit, eating, drinking and scratching more and on the 3rd afternoon she stayed out of the nest and went to roost that evening...event over, back to normal tho she didn't lay for another week or two.

    Water nipple bottle was added after pic was taken:
    [​IMG]
     
  8. beginnergirl

    beginnergirl Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Aart,

    That paints a different picture of the process. It would be much easier to be a chicken owner for a year before undergoing raising chicks. My Clover just looks so ferocious and utterly determined, I wonder if it will work. Will have to expand the coop and build a makeshift crate if I go this route. So much to consider. Clover had become such a sweetheart after she began laying. She laid an egg yesterday. What do you do if she is still laying and she doesn't have a place to lay?
     
  9. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler!

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    Investing in a small wire dog crate might be a good idea, I've found them to be very useful in a multitude of ways as a chicken keeper.
    Sometimes you can find them cheap at yard sales or thrift stores.
    Having room in the coop to isolate birds, for various reasons, is something else to think about being able to do before enlarging your flock.

    If she's still laying and going to roost at night, she may not be truly broody....may be just 'thinking' about it.
    I would not put a bird in the broody breaker until I had seen that she stayed on the nest for 3 days and nights, except for daily outings to eatdrinkpoop.

    I had a bird isolated for an injury, in that same crate tho it had the tray and some bedding in it, and she laid in there just fine every day.
     
  10. CTKen

    CTKen Monkey business Premium Member

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    Hi,

    I'm pretty sure your suggested set up would be fine. I'd suggest going for cheap eggs, so if she fails to set the eggs, then the financial loss is minimised.

    I started breeding after only having had chickens for 3 months. I don't really think its that complicated (particularly when a hen does all the work, as opposed to using an incubator) and its a very rewarding thing to do. I don't see any reason why you should not go ahead and try - theres always BYC to fall back on if you need any advice!!

    Good luck
    CT
     

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