How do I let the broody hatch some eggs?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by MyBlackHen, Jan 14, 2011.

  1. MyBlackHen

    MyBlackHen Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hi,

    I've got a broody Australorp. She's been like this for over a month. I have tried some half-hearted attempts to break it (bringing her out of the nesting box, etc.) but she's been adamant about it. I didn't try some of the methods that I've read about on this site, like putting her in a raised cage with airflow underneath. I guess I was just hoping that she would snap out of it.

    Today when I went to check on her and look for eggs underneath, I realized that she is completely bare of feathers underneath. From reading on this site I found out that that is not uncommon for broody hens. But I am realizing that I've either got to break this broody or let her hatch some chicks. I have a friend who can give me some fertilized eggs. Should I mark them and put them underneath her, and just see what happens? If they actually hatch, should I separate the broody and her new chicks from the other hens? My garage is heated to 45 degrees - I could put them in there until the chicks get a little bigger? I didn't want to go this route now because it's January in upstate NY and its cold. I wanted to put some eggs underneath her in the spring time if she went broody again ... but at this rate, I'm not sure she'll make it.

    Or is this not the smart thing to do ... should I just break her using the cage? Again, I could put her in a rabbit hutch that I have in our garage so she wouldn't be freezing cold all by herself for a few days.

    Thanks for the advice.
     
  2. NYREDS

    NYREDS Overrun With Chickens

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    A hen & chicks will be fine in a 45 degree garage.
     
  3. ADozenGirlz

    ADozenGirlz The Chicken Chick[IMG]emojione/assets/png/00ae.png

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    I'd let her brood. I had a bantam Cochin Frizzle who I had to break three or four times this spring, summer and fall and I decided to let her sit on some shipped eggs recently. She is in my basement and when the chicks hatch, I plan to put them in the garage brooder with the other chicks that hatch out of my incubators (hopefully all 12 of them!).

    Winter isn't the ideal time to hatch chicks but it's fine to do if the tempertatures are controlled.
    Good luck!
     
  4. MyBlackHen

    MyBlackHen Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks for your advice, everyone. I contacted my friend about getting fertilized eggs. She's willing, but she also offered her own thoughts about hatching right now. Namely, I would have to keep everyone in my garage for ~2-3 months because it would be too cold outside to acclimate the chicks. That's a pretty big commitment that I don't want to rush into.

    So I brought in my rabbit hutch and brought the broody inside the garage. I'm going to try to break the broodiness, and then if that still doesn't work, I will see about letting her hatch some eggs. As it was, the first thing she did when we got her into the cage was POOP and boy it stunk! I'm going to have to clean up every time she goes. My son was so grossed out watching me clean it up LOL.

    We'll see how this goes ... I sure would love to have her hatch some chicks, but springtime would be a much easier time to do it!

    [​IMG]
     
  5. Judy

    Judy Moderator Staff Member

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    Quote:I don't agree. Many of us let them hatch the chicks right in the coop, and raise them with the flock, skipping integration issues. This is where my chick hatched 11/27 is, and my current broody is setting on 7 eggs right in the coop, too. Mama keeps them warm. At one week, in the middle of a cold snap, the chicks were running around all day. Moma would offer to let them get uner her to get warm and they would ignore her. To me this is the healthiest way to raise chicks. There may be some losses, but you end up with mamas imparting all their wisdom to the chicks and a stronger bunch of chickens. This wasn't the first group I've had a mama raise in the winter with temps in the teens up to the 40's for highs.

    All about broodies:

    http://www.themodernhomestead.us/article/Broody-Hens-1.html
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 16, 2011
  6. MyBlackHen

    MyBlackHen Chillin' With My Peeps

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    ddawn, thank you for that link. What a great resource! I really want to see if she is really a good broody. She's my favorite too - my username is named after her!

    I'm a bit nervous because it would be my first time. Also, here in upstate NY, I believe the temps are quite a bit colder than where you are in Georgia. Our temperature range at night is more like -10 through +20 degrees F. I'm not saying that it can't be done, but given that it is my first time plus her first time, it's just a little daunting.

    I think I'm going to see if I can break this for now, but if it doesn't work (or she goes broody again right away) then I will give it a whirl. If it does break, I sure hope she goes broody again in a couple of months.

    Thanks again for your help!
     
  7. gritsar

    gritsar Cows, Chooks & Impys - OH MY!

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    Quote:I don't agree. Many of us let them hatch the chicks right in the coop, and raise them with the flock, skipping integration issues. This is where my chick hatched 11/27 is, and my current broody is setting on 7 eggs right in the coop, too. Mama keeps them warm. At one week, in the middle of a cold snap, the chicks were running around all day. Moma would offer to let them get uner her to get warm and they would ignore her. To me this is the healthiest way to raise chicks. There may be some losses, but you end up with mamas imparting all their wisdom to the chicks and a stronger bunch of chickens. This wasn't the first group I've had a mama raise in the winter with temps in the teens up to the 40's for highs.

    All about broodies:

    http://www.themodernhomestead.us/article/Broody-Hens-1.html

    I have two broodies in the coop right now. I'm closely following Dawn's (and others) advice about how to deal with a broody in winter. I personally don't believe in taking chicks from the broody hen. Why would someone want to do that? Brooder chicks are more work. Why not let the broody take care of it for you? She instinctively knows what she's doing.
    I remember reading of a study once that compared the "chicken smarts" of broody raised chicks vs. brooder raised ones. The broody can teach the chicks more about life in the barnyard, what to eat, avoiding predators, than us humans could ever teach them.
     
  8. oconnorfamily25

    oconnorfamily25 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Just push the eggs under her and let her hatch them in the coop in a special box on the floor. The way nature intended.
     
  9. card5640

    card5640 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have 2 Copper Marans that hatch out all year long, they takes perfectly timed turns it seems. One hatched out 2 on Thanksgiving day I was so glad my family was here to witness the event. ( now they are crazy about my birds too) The other hatched out 5 on Christmas eve. They are doing great. It was great to see the Mom drag the food dish near her breast and see those tiny heads peek out to peck at the food. It is cold here in Maine too. I do have a heat light at one end of the 8x10 coop, they go there when mom is off doing her thing. Good luck.
     
  10. Judy

    Judy Moderator Staff Member

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    Quote:Your choice, of course. I don't know of any statistics or even many comments on brooding in real winter (I did notice where you live.) There's another thread going right now, something about let's all watch our broodies together, and I looked at a few pages and noticed several people live in NY or New England. Maybe you guys up there in the real cold (I grew up near Chicago) need a thread about managing broodies up there, especially if you decide to let her go for it. I'd be interested in following it, even though I'll no doubt never live in that cold again.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 16, 2011

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