Hen went broody!

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by RedheadErin, Mar 8, 2012.

  1. RedheadErin

    RedheadErin Chillin' With My Peeps

    256
    5
    101
    Nov 30, 2011
    One of our hens is sitting in a pile of straw with some eggs. My son says she was there yesterday, too. So I guess this means she is brooding, right? We cant eat the eggs right now, as the birds are all on wormer and antibiotics, so we figure we'll just let her sit and see what happens. How long will she sit? That is, assumimg she started yesterday, how long until hatch? It is 21 days? Will we have to keep her and the chickies separate form the others? We are about to get 5 EE chicks in April, so I really do not what more chicks in the house. What else do I need to know? [​IMG]
     
  2. kari_dawn

    kari_dawn Chillin' With My Peeps

    2,372
    28
    198
    Nov 2, 2009
    North Texas
    If they are on antibiotics and wormer right now, Im not sure I would let her hatch those eggs...you don't know what kind of developmental issues that might cause for the chicks, or wether or not they will even be viable to hatch...wormers and other anti-parasitics are in essence poisons.

    As for wether or not she is broody, is she a first timer? How old is she? what breed? Someone once described a broody hen as sitting puffed up and flattened out like a pancake...I think that is a good description. My girl looked like this when she first went broody:

    [​IMG]

    Notice how her feathers are all fluffed, her wings are spread to cover more surface area, her head is tucked close to her body to help hold in heat (and because she didn't want me in her face LOL), her chest is touching the shavings (again, to deliver more heat to the eggs). If you stick your hand under a broody hen, the heat is quite noteable...like a heating pad set on medium low heat.

    21 days should be about right, and as to wether you will have to keep her and her brood separate is really dependant on her and how good of a mommy she is. If you are lucky, and she is a good mommy (meaning you will have to watch her to make sure she TAKES the EE babies, and watch her some more to learn wether or not she will DEFEND the babies against the others, and teach them what they need to learn...in that case, I would keep her and the babies separate for two to three weeks), it may be a better idea to replace those eggs with dummies, and slip the EE babies under her when they get here. What part of April? The timing is about right for early April.
     
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2012
  3. RedheadErin

    RedheadErin Chillin' With My Peeps

    256
    5
    101
    Nov 30, 2011
    OK, I see I was not being clear. I ORDERED 5 EE pullets from Farm n Fleet. They should be here April 4. AND a hen sat her butt down on a bunch of eggs in the shed yesterday. She looks kind of like the picture you put up (but not as pretty--that is a lovely hen you have there!) I think she is an ISA brown, although I was told she was a RIR. (She isn't. I can tell that from a picture!) Here is a picture of one of her sisters in the yard. [​IMG]

    This is apparently her first time. She is one of a batch of shelter hens I got last December. I was told she was just getting to egg bearing age then.
     
  4. HEChicken

    HEChicken Overrun With Chickens

    7,544
    172
    316
    Aug 12, 2009
    BuCo, KS
    My Coop
    I think what kari_dawn was suggesting was that you allow your broody hen to raise your EE chicks for you after they arrive. Many broodies will accept chicks if you slip them under her at night after she has already been sitting around 3 weeks. So if your EE chicks are due to arrive in the first part of April, you might consider slipping them under her the night after they arrive and see if she will accept and raise them for you - that way you don't have to worry about having a brooder in the house at all.
     
  5. Den in Penn

    Den in Penn Chillin' With My Peeps

    3,418
    195
    216
    Dec 15, 2011
    SE Pa.
    The wormers are something to consider.
    You don't have to keep the broody and her chicks separate. If she is an established member of the flock she should keep the others from hurting them. The other members of the flock may teach them manners from time to time. but if mama is close that should be all. But that said they still may have some out of the norm behavior. Oh and try to keep the others from adding to the clutch after she has started to set. You want to have them hatch the same day or two.
     
  6. RedheadErin

    RedheadErin Chillin' With My Peeps

    256
    5
    101
    Nov 30, 2011
    OK. I see what you mean. This hen is due on March 28. Farm n Fleet chicks are coming April 4--a whole week later. Either she is going to already have some babies by that point, or she is not...but what would I do in either case? Can I encourage her to stay broody an extra week?

    What if I take the current eggs away from her and put in some dummies? Will she still sit on those? Will she still stay broody for 4 more weeks?

    I was wondering about all the meds they are on, too. What is the worst thing that can happen? No chicks or deformed chicks?


    I cannot imagine how I would keep the other hens out of the nest, unless I physically fence them out. We don't even have a proper coop--we have a very nice Lifetime shed. For a while they were all laying their eggs in a blue milk crate, but they have now carved out a corner with some straw in it. It's the community egg-drop. Any ideas about that?

    Oh, and once the chicks come, if I go and stuff them under her at night, and then go in the house to sleep, isnt there a chance she will reject them by morning and I will then have 5 dead chicks?
     
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2012
  7. kari_dawn

    kari_dawn Chillin' With My Peeps

    2,372
    28
    198
    Nov 2, 2009
    North Texas
    what HEChicken said! Sorry if I was being unclear! I get ahead of myself sometimes...conversations make sense in my head, and everyone else in the room is looking at me like "what?" *deer in the headlights* lol

    First off, if she is an ISA Brown, she may not be broody. Most more modern crosses have had broodiness bred out of them in favor of massive egg production. If she is a hatchery RIR or New Hampshire Red, there is a good chance she is broody. Another thing to consider is that you do not yet know how determined she is to set. I had an OEG that went broody, four months later, she was still sitting on nothing and looking rather frazzled, loosing weight by the day, and not even cose to giving up; so I gave in and gave her some feed store babies. She was a phenominal mother. It really depends on the hen.

    Changing her eggs for dummies may be a good test to see how determined she is. I would change them simply because if the eggs are duds from all the meds, at least if you replace them with dummies, they can't rot and break under her (EEEW!). If you break her from being broody just from that, there is a good chance she wasn't determined enough to hatch.

    You can take some hardware cloth or other wire mesh and roll some around her to make a kind of pen to keep her separate too...as for the others, put another dummy egg back in the milk crate and see if you can convince them to start laying in there again.

    I gave Bonnie her chicks in the middle of the day on a weekend so I could watch how she interacted with them. At first, I tried to move her and the new crew into a dog crate, but she would have none of it and tried to keep the babies away from her. Once I put her back in the favorite nest, and gave her the kids, she became instant mommy. It was really darling. I recommend doing intros when you can supervise.
     
  8. RedheadErin

    RedheadErin Chillin' With My Peeps

    256
    5
    101
    Nov 30, 2011
    Turns out she has the attention span of a fruit fly. After just 2 days, she abandoned the nest. [​IMG]Teenagers--SHEESH! Maybe next time.
     
  9. kari_dawn

    kari_dawn Chillin' With My Peeps

    2,372
    28
    198
    Nov 2, 2009
    North Texas
    um, just out of curiosity, how old is that pic you posted?...her ankle kinda looks swollen...

    Sorry your girl gave up! Maybe next time!
     
  10. RedheadErin

    RedheadErin Chillin' With My Peeps

    256
    5
    101
    Nov 30, 2011
    just a week or so old. They have big feet. but now I am going to have another look, just in case......
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by