How do you know if a hen is broody?

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by LestersFlat, Dec 14, 2011.

  1. LestersFlat

    LestersFlat Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 17, 2011
    Schuyler Lake NY
    We added a rooster to our 7 hens a few months after they started laying eggs. Just in the past few days, one of the hens started sleeping in the nest box, something that none of them has ever done before. There are 2 eggs in the box, and many of her feathers (also not noticed before). How long should I leave them in there?

    Last night was the first night that she didn't go to the roost, she spent the night in the box, but she didn't spend most of the day in there. After free ranging with the girls for most of the day, she went back to the box again tonight.

    Don't know if I should leave the eggs for her to hatch, or just pick them up... We are in upstate NY, and it has not been very cold lately, but the weather is changing and going down in the 20s at night. If the eggs get cold during the day, should I pick them up and just assume that she is not sitting on them?
     
  2. jen85

    jen85 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Aug 25, 2011
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    She should stay on the eggs all day and night. Mine only get up once a day or less. They will also sound different and keep their feathers fluffed up. I would take the eggs personally. She might be waiting for more eggs.
     
  3. La Mike

    La Mike (Always Slightly Off)

    Nov 20, 2009
    louisiana
    When she fattens out in the nest and refuses to leave without a fight [​IMG][​IMG]
     
  4. joneus

    joneus Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 2, 2011
    Ballston Spa
    In my inexperienced opinion, it sounds like she's thinking about it. Thats what mine did before sinking into the full throes of broodiness: attitude, feather plucking, absolute refusal to leave the nest under her own power, the whole nine.

    Everyone does things differently 'round here. I've read plenty of success stories from people who have let their broodies hatch chicks in the winter, but I suppose it would all depend on whether or not you're equipped to protect her & the chicks from the cold.

    Personally, I'm not going to let mine hatch anything right now. The coop isnt heated or insulated & I'm not really set up to have chickens in the house all winter. Its too cold out, IMHO, for her to not be eating, drinking & moving much for 3 solid weeks. Plus, when the chicks hatch it'll be just prior to what is traditionally our "January deep freeze" where the daytime temp is around 5 below zero for 2 weeks. I dont know what the temp will be in the coop, but I dont want to take a chance on finding frozen little chickcicles because Matilda decided it was time to teach them how to be chickens... in January.

    but thats just my opinion, LOL!
     
  5. Moochie

    Moochie Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Nov 8, 2010
    North Edwards
    Look for the clucks! I mean, keep an ear out for the clucks... Or something. It's a very clucky cluck, that is clucky.
     
  6. LestersFlat

    LestersFlat Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 17, 2011
    Schuyler Lake NY
    Quote:Well I am as inexperienced as you...or more!

    I read all of these replies and decided to go take the eggs today. According to my husband, there are now 4 eggs in there. She was not in the box, but the eggs were still warm when he went out there this morning. I went out a few minutes ago, and she was back in the box, not willing to move. I didn't try too hard to move her, as I was distracted by my ornery rooster who was in attack modeĀ—on me. Armed with my snow brush, I fended him off, but every time I turned my back to him, he would go at me again.

    Going out again in a bit to see if I can get the eggs. If not, I will let her sit on them. Do you think they will hatch even if she has not been the best broody hen keeping them warm? We are cold here in upstate NY, probably similar to you in CT, and we also have no heat in the coop, but we could move momma and chicks to the basement if necessary. Wouldn't be optimal conditions, but we could do it.
     
  7. La Mike

    La Mike (Always Slightly Off)

    Nov 20, 2009
    louisiana
    If the eggs start to develop and she gets off the nest long enough for them to get below 90 deg you will probably lose them below 75 and you will definately lose them. Not sure of temps in NY but I would guess more than 5-10 minutes vacant and you lose mostly depends on the temps you are dealing with. If she gets off for a short period they may still be fine.
     
  8. LestersFlat

    LestersFlat Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 17, 2011
    Schuyler Lake NY
    She was off the nest for most of the day yesterday, so those 2 eggs are probably no good, but there are 2 more in there today, and as far as I can tell, she has been on the nest all day. Unfortunately, this comes at a time when we just started selling our eggs. We had 7 hens, lost one recently (fox? hawk?) and now a second has taken up residence in one of the 2 nest boxes, hoarding the eggs.

    The only solution, as I see it, is to get more hens! We are picking up 3 good layers (RIRxblue copper maran) and maybe we'll get back in the business of egg production!

    Thanks for all of your answers. We newbies appreciate the help!
     
  9. NanaLantana

    NanaLantana Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 7, 2011
    Lantana, Florida
    If she really is broody, and if you want to let her keep and hatch some eggs, you've got to manage it - that is, if you want live chicks as an outcome! A winter broody up north will have to be moved to a warmer spot, with her nest. She will get up to eat/poop for at least one hour a day - the eggs could freeze by then! (If me, I'd tell her NO, not now)

    If you don't want to bother with all the trouble, just keep taking her eggs away. In about 3 to 3 1/2 weeks, she'll give up and join the flock again. No harm done. I have a broody who keeps going broody over and over. I let her have chicks her first time, but that was enough for me for awhile! She did not have success on her second and third tries, as I removed all her eggs every day. She's fine - but she'll go broody again! When I decide I want chicks, I'll let her have some, otherwise, she's out of luck!

    Basically I'm saying, I'm the one in charge!
     
  10. LestersFlat

    LestersFlat Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 17, 2011
    Schuyler Lake NY
    My husband managed to get the 5 eggs (I thought it was 4) from her this morning. When I went out at lunchtime, she was back in the nest box again, but got out when I was giving the others some scratch feed. There were 3 more very warm eggs in there! Must be she was sitting on someone else's eggs.

    I am going to keep trying to get the eggs from her. Not sure who is going to win the stubborn contest. And then there's that pesky roo who tries to attack me every time I go in the coop to check on things...

    Last question for this thread: Can we eat the eggs that she was sitting on for a day or 2? Or should I feed them to the pigs?
     

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