How do I know if she's broody?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by HHandbasket, Jan 24, 2011.

  1. HHandbasket

    HHandbasket The Chickeneer

    I have an EE/american gamefowl mixed pullet (Olga) who just started laying Tuesday of last week. She has been a wonderful egg-laying machine and has laid 6 eggs in 7 days, each one a little larger than the day before. She's a quick layer, too. She goes into the nest box, sits for a few, comes out and sings her announcement, and I go out and retrieve the egg. Same routine, every day.

    This morning, she was already on the nest when DH went out at 7 a.m. to open the run for the girls to free range. It has been over 4 hours, and she is still there. We had a leghorn do that once & she got eggbound, so I don't want to let this happen to Olga. I stuck my hand in the nesting box to check her, and she HISSED at me and pecked my hand. I lifted her up, and she had laid her egg and was sitting on it (it's not fertile... she's never even seen a rooster, much less been fertilized). I took her egg but left the fake egg that "lives" in the nest. She growled at me, hissed again, and sat back down on the fake egg.

    She will be 28 weeks old tomorrow and has only been laying for a week. Would she go broody already???
  2. Carolyn

    Carolyn Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 6, 2008
    The best description of a broody hen was posted by someone else on this forum: they hiss like a snake and puff up like a marshmallow. Sounds like yours fits the bill so yes I guess they can be broody at that age. You could try getting her some fertile eggs if you want the babies. If you want to break her, someone else will have to tell you how because I have no experience in that. Good luck. BTW game birds are supposed to be good broodies and mommas from what I have read.
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2011
  3. spartacus_63

    spartacus_63 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 21, 2009
    Central Iowa
    It is not uncommon for hens, even young ones to display broodiness like this. Chances are it is a hormonal thing. It is less likely but not impossible for her to go all out broody on a clutch of two eggs unless she is confined to a brooder box/nest. You will know when she is broody because she will resemble a pancake in a trance. With only two eggs she may not flatten out as much but when they have to cover a dozen or so eggs, it is amazing how much area they can cover.

    The hissing and pecking is a good sign that she has broody instincts though. I also have several RIR hens who display this behavior, but typically give up the task after a few hours to a couple of days.
  4. hannakat

    hannakat Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 5, 2010
    Beaver County, PA
    I just had a hen go broody and didn't know what was going on until I posted on BYC. Love this place! Anyway, she hissed and puffed at me all day. After some research here, we took her out and stood her in a few inches of snow. (I do not want her sitting on eggs!) She stood there for quite a while, took one step and pooped. Then she strolled over to the 'goodie' plate I had by the run and started eating. She went back in with the others and everything is back to normal except she hasn't laid an egg in 2 days. I figure that's from not eating or drinking all day.

    good luck!

  5. gritsar

    gritsar Cows, Chooks & Impys - OH MY!

    Nov 9, 2007
    SW Arkansas
    Imagine that someone went into your coop during the night, kidnapped your sweet hen and left a tazmanian devil in her place.

    That's a broody [​IMG]
  6. Pinky

    Pinky Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 15, 2008
    South GA
    Quote:[​IMG] Great description!
  7. HHandbasket

    HHandbasket The Chickeneer

    Well, there was a line forming at the nesting boxes (four chickens laying, 5 nesting areas in the coop, and everybody wants to use the same steenkin' nest LOL). I went in and let her peck my hand but I took her egg. I went back out half an hour later, and there was Bertha in the nest right next to her but there sat Olga, all puffy and flattened out (it didn't even LOOK like her) with a mouthful of black feathers (Bertha's black... Olga is not). I just reached in and pulled Olga out. I had already taken her egg anyway, and I don't need a broody hen right now (we just set all the fertile eggs we acquired in the bator less than 2 days ago). I set her down in another part of the coop where there are other nests (like I said, a line was forming at the main nesting boxes), and she squatted for me for the first time ever. Even though she's been laying for a week, she doesn't squat. It's that wild child side of her that she gets from her American gamefowl heritage, we imagine, because none of our other girls is like that & she's been this way since she was a week old.

    After she squatted, I petted her and walked away. She ran out of the coop and started digging for worms with the rest of the flock (I had just turned over some more ground for the garden & they were feasting). She's been fine since, but I worry what'll happen tomorrow when she goes in to lay. I will just keep an eye on things and just keep taking her out if she gets like that again.

    Thank you all for your help/advice. [​IMG] I suspect that she was starting to go broody. If she does go broody, somebody's gonna have to send me some eggs! LOL!
  8. dldolan

    dldolan WineNChooks

    Aug 11, 2010
    Sonoma County, CA
    ha ha! There are PLENTY of folks here that will be happy to send eggs, so be careful what you wish for! My #2 Blue Cochin is brooding on 8 BCM eggs I bought locally for her, and when I toss her off for a few minutes to eat and drink (she sat for five days before I realized she hadn't moved!) she puffs every stinkin' feather out of her cochin-self and looks like a miniature blue turkey! Hysterical...
  9. Happy Chooks

    Happy Chooks Moderator Staff Member

    Jul 9, 2009
    Northern CA
    My Coop
    I've had some hens that will screech at me when I bother them on the nest, but they haven't gone broody, they just don't like to be disturbed. The biggest clue to them being broody is when they don't get off the nest to roost at night. If your girl has game in her, they are a broody breed, so it's possible she's thinking about it.
  10. gryeyes

    gryeyes Covered in Pet Hair & Feathers

    Uhhhh, Ms. Hhandbasket, did you not just get an incubator? Ask Gritty (Gritsar) about that.... Of course, Gritty didn't set any eggs in her 'bator until after her broody problem got bigger...

    Just sayin.....

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