Hens that never seem to go broody.

Madie'sOddFlock

Songster
Apr 17, 2018
409
677
191
Maine
We've had chickens for a few years now, and we have a lot of them(100+ constantly). We have hens who might go broody for a day or two, but nothing more than that. We got lucky and had a guinea hen who went broody for about a week... but that's the longest anyone has ever gone broody. I can't even get my silkies to go broody and I forget to collect their eggs all the time... I incubate my own eggs, but I just think it'd be really neat to see it done the natural way.
We even had a hen who we traded with my aunt for 3 other birds and not even a week after she went to my aunt's she went broody...
Does anyone have any clue what's up with them?

Thank you,
Madie.
 

RiverOtter

Crowing
11 Years
Nov 4, 2009
1,199
1,995
361
NY
With as many chickens as you have, it might simply be a pecking order thing. I've only ever had my most dominant hen (3 years old and absolute despot) go broody where other chickens could easily see her and get to her. And not while I had a big flock, it was after a fox disaster.

They want to go off somewhere as quiet and secret as possible. I've had them brood under a fallen tree in a tiny nook, in the barn roof, behind the tire of an old parked car and many times in some little hidey hole between stacked bales of hay. But only the once in a nest box in the coop.
 

Ruthster55

Crowing
7 Years
Nov 23, 2013
1,063
1,954
391
Northern South America
With over 100 chickens of the correct breeds or mixes, someone should go broody. I've seen Australorps in a flock of 55 go broody even when there are no eggs in the nest. I've seen semi-feral game mix chickens in a flock of 70 basically raising their own flock!

Not all breeds will go broody. If your flock consisted, say, of mostly Leghorns, Rhode Island Reds, Easter Eggers, and just a few silkies, you probably won't get anyone to go broody, because there is a sort of social "contagion" about it. Once one broods successfully, others want to do it!

https://www.backyardchickens.com/threads/non-broody-breeds.936644/#:~:text=Michael OShay said:,are I don't know.

They like to brood in sheds and other hidden places, but will do it in nest boxes if they don't have other alternatives.

It's more common for no broodiness to occur in small flocks of 10 birds or less.

The two changes we made that led to 4 broodies in a row are:

1. We took down the old, trashy fencing where dogs could get in and attack chickens and built a very secure run that includes a footer. The main predator in the area is dogs and there are few hawks. We did this in late 2019.

2. Early this year, we picked up a couple of game hens (I guess they're Old English) from a neighbor just for fun. A few months later, the broody antics started!
 

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Madie'sOddFlock

Songster
Apr 17, 2018
409
677
191
Maine
With over 100 chickens of the correct breeds or mixes, someone should go broody. I've seen Australorps in a flock of 55 go broody even when there are no eggs in the nest. I've seen semi-feral game mix chickens in a flock of 70 basically raising their own flock!

Not all breeds will go broody. If your flock consisted, say, of mostly Leghorns, Rhode Island Reds, Easter Eggers, and just a few silkies, you probably won't get anyone to go broody, because there is a sort of social "contagion" about it. Once one broods successfully, others want to do it!

https://www.backyardchickens.com/threads/non-broody-breeds.936644/#:~:text=Michael OShay said:,are I don't know.

They like to brood in sheds and other hidden places, but will do it in nest boxes if they don't have other alternatives.

It's more common for no broodiness to occur in small flocks of 10 birds or less.

The two changes we made that led to 4 broodies in a row are:

1. We took down the old, trashy fencing where dogs could get in and attack chickens and built a very secure run that includes a footer. The main predator in the area is dogs and there are few hawks. We did this in late 2019.

2. Early this year, we picked up a couple of game hens (I guess they're Old English) from a neighbor just for fun. A few months later, the broody antics started!
Well, we have a sufficient mix of a lot of things. There are a few leghorns and some mixes, but we mostly have buff orpingtons, buckeyes, brahmas, barred rocks and easter eggers. We will have some(especially orpingtons and barred rocks) go broody over eggs(or nothing but shavings), like fluff up their feathers, growl, hiss, bite, but by the next day they're like "oh, never mind..."
My silkies are in a coop with sebright x old english game bantams, and d'uccles, but none of them seem to go broody at all(although I've seen a sebright lay on her eggs for a little longer than everyone else).
It just doesn't seem to make sense that literally no one has been anywhere near devoted enough to hatch out chicks in the 3 years that we've had chickens...
 

NatJ

Free Ranging
Mar 20, 2017
6,395
12,337
596
USA
Maybe it's something about the nestboxes? Maybe add a few more nestboxes-- even a few cardboard boxes in various corners of the coop would provide some new options, and might seem more secluded.

Maybe it would help to put a clutch of fake eggs in a few nests?

Do your chickens have artificial light in the winter, or natural daylight all year long? I wonder whether the change in hours of daylight might sometimes trigger hens to go broody?

Of course, those are all guesses :) But a few cardboard boxes and fake eggs are at least easy to try!
 

Ruthster55

Crowing
7 Years
Nov 23, 2013
1,063
1,954
391
Northern South America
Is the coop with the silkies and the Sebright x OEG bantams large enough? Enough nest boxes? Maybe put curtains on the nest boxes?

Am asking about that coop because those breeds are more likely to go broody than most.

Do your chickens “feel safe,” or have you had a predator attack of any sort within the last few months? We had virtually no broodies for several years while we had the bad fencing.
 

Peppercorngal

Crowing
Feb 5, 2018
2,597
5,971
371
Feather Falls, CA
I have a flock of 38 chickens, 36 hens and 2 roosters. I have broody hens all the time. Maggie, my great mom hen was broody 3 times last year and hatched out many chicks. She is a Buff Orpington. Right now my only Speckled Sussex, Sadie, is broody, and one of my Black Jersey Giants is broody too. Of course, I just hatched 10 chicks from my incubator 2 weeks ago. Go figure. Mine ALWAYS use the nest boxes to be broody, even though there are other options, like the "playpen", which they hang out in, but don't use for broodiness. It's really a hormone thing, you can't make a chicken broody! Can't wait to see what comes of your broody!

chicken playpen.jpg
 

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