Hens are brooding and it's spreading help!

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by StephanRanch, Jan 16, 2015.

  1. StephanRanch

    StephanRanch Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 26, 2014
    Murfreesboro Tn
    So one of my Cochins decided she was going to sit on some eggs. She had once before and gave up a day in so I didn't worry, but she's decided she's in it for the long haul now..still not so bad, right? Except then her sister joined her on eggs that I didn't want them hatching anyways but now the eggs are 4-5 days old and culling is NOT an option for me. They have heartbeats. So the girls keep laying eggs in the same box and I have marked the 7 that were in there yesterday with a crayon and am taking any unmarked eggs out every night. The thing is, now a THIRD hen is sitting on the eggs too and I can't exactly go dipping them in water to keep them from being broody when it's 20 degrees out. I do have an incubator. So what do I do? Do I have to take the eggs away for them to stop? Will that even work when they are all going to just keep laying more every day? Should I maybe quarantine the original broody girl inside? I have an enclosure big enough for her to fit in comfortably and have space to move about. I have food and water elevated so the three girls can reach it from the nesting box now. I keep removing the third hen and putting her outside the coop but she just runs back in immediately. Also, when it's this cold is it really a good idea to leave the chicks outside when they hatch?? Again, I do have an incubator and somewhere to brood them if I take them a away from the hens. I just don't want to go in trying to help, and just end up doing harm. Also, I was going to socialize the chicks I was going to hatch this spring much better than the adult chickens I have now. Will the chicks be even less social than the hens are if I leave the chicks with the hens?
     
  2. StephanRanch

    StephanRanch Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 26, 2014
    Murfreesboro Tn
    [​IMG]

    Here are the two sisters sharing the eggs. Very funny, until the third joined in. On the plus side, I've never been able to handle these three this much!
     
  3. krista74

    krista74 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Victoria, Australia.
    Broodiness begets broodiness I'm afraid. I've found on many occasions that once one hen goes broody, and the others see her on the nest, another hen will soon follow!

    Eggs are very important to me. That's why I bought my hens in the first place! So, if you are wanting eggs and not broody hens what I would do is put the original hen in a penned off area with all of the eggs and let her hatch the lot.

    The remaining broody hens I would put into a broody buster cage - a dog crate with a fine wire base will work well. Raise it off the ground so that air can flow freely underneath the cage. The only things you put inside the cage are food, lots of water and your broody hens. No bedding a all. Make sure that the cage is protected from the elements, so if it's cold and wet there you could put it in the garage.

    Here is a picture of my broody buster cage, just to give you an idea....

    [​IMG]

    Your broody hens can stay in the cage for 48 hours straight. Don't let them out until after that. Once 48 hours have passed, open the cage and watch their behaviour. If they run straight back to the nest, you need to chase them down and put them back in Busterville! If they go about their regular chicken business, they can re-join the flock.

    As far as chicks go, you can leave them with Momma Hen or incubate and brood them yourself. Leaving them with Momma is much less work, and she will teach them all they need to know about being a chicken. I wouldn't worry about the cold though - the babies will huddle under Momma and she will keep them warm as toast!

    If you want the chicks to be easier to handle, just make sure you spend time with them after they hatch. Give Momma a few days to get used to them, and then go and sit in the brooder pen with them all, and gently pick up the babies, give them a pat, and release them back to Momma. I'm sure if you do this regularly they will get used to you very quickly.

    - Krista
     
  4. blucoondawg

    blucoondawg Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I hope a few of mine go broody none did last year not even the Brahmas but now I got a couple more Brahma's and a few Cochin's so hopefully I can get some maintenance free chicks.
     
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2015
  5. StephanRanch

    StephanRanch Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 26, 2014
    Murfreesboro Tn

    If mine are any indication Cochins are apparently the way to go!
     
  6. StephanRanch

    StephanRanch Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 26, 2014
    Murfreesboro Tn
    So, update:
    I have cleaned the coop, and taken the broody chicken and put her in a pen inside the coop. I would separate her more but this is all I can do. I have been getting 0 eggs for about 3-4 days. Several other hens are trying to be broody. every time bought them with the broody Cochin on the eggs I threw them out. We will see how putting the broody hen in her own cage works. I also took away all their golf balls because they were trying to hatch those too.. Anyways, I had been missing a hen for 3 days. I assumed she was dead, until I found her under the deck. I pulled her and almost 30 eggs out from under the deck. I piled uncomfortable and large rocks where the eggs had all been laid to discourage any more laying and hosed it all down(after removing my previously lost hen, of course). This is becoming very time consuming!!
    [​IMG][​IMG]
     
  7. krista74

    krista74 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oh my gosh, look at all those eggs! [​IMG]

    Broody Hens are a force to be reckoned with, for sure. And you're right - broodiness begets broodiness. I've been battling with 4 broody hens myself this week, and I've said to hubby next time we build a coop we should make it apartment-style so everyone can have their own broody box! I always find though that when I have even one broody hen, everyone else slows down or stops laying. They really disrupt things!

    Good idea taking away the fake eggs, I do the same thing here. I also block off the nest boxes at night time so no-one can sleep in there. A pen inside the coop is just fine for your broody hen though, so don't worry about that. As long as she has food, water, and a little space to stand up and stretch her legs she will be fine. How any eggs does she have?

    - Krista
     
  8. StephanRanch

    StephanRanch Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 26, 2014
    Murfreesboro Tn
    I had not thought to block the boxes off at night!! I will do that. Good idea!
    The broody hen has 7 eggs and access to a water bottle and big bowl if food and a little room to walk and stretch. I have been candling the eggs and it looks like two are not going to make it. The Cochin has not kicked them out if the nest yet so I've let her keep them. It's only 5 or 6 days until they should be hatching anyways.
     
  9. krista74

    krista74 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I block mine off with a sheet of corrugated iron or a piece of wood, depending on what I have to hand. Sometimes I take girls out of the broody buster cage and I know they are almost 'cured', but to get to bed they have to walk past the nest boxes, and it's all just too much for them! Several have failed that test and popped straight onto a nest of plastic eggs, so 'out of sight, out of mind' for a couple of days seems to bolster their resilience!

    I would keep a very close eye on those eggs in the nest which are potentially unviable. As someone who has (unfortunately) experienced an egg explosion underneath a broody hen I can tell you it's best avoided at all costs! If you smell anything remotely whiffy when you go near the nest box, whip those unviable eggs out straight away. If they do explode they can force bacteria onto the good eggs and you can lose the unborn chicks inside, so it's not worth the risk. I always candle around the 10 day mark and any eggs that look different or 'behind' the others in development get turfed out straight away. Better safe than sorry!

    I am so excited for you though. Really it's not long to go now! Incidentally, I might mention that we do love pics of dear little baby chicks around here [​IMG]

    Good luck!

    - Krista
     
  10. StephanRanch

    StephanRanch Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 26, 2014
    Murfreesboro Tn
    They were all where they were supposed to be tonight when we put them up. I didn't even have to pull any out of nesting boxes. I will keep a close eye and nostril on those two eggs that might be bad. I check on them daily and have not noticed any odor. I will get some post some pictures of the babies as well and maybe some of the ones I ordered that will be here the 6th too.
    Thanks for all your help!
     

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