How do you tell if your hen is broody?

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by JennH07, Feb 6, 2011.

  1. JennH07

    JennH07 Chillin' With My Peeps

    130
    0
    109
    May 1, 2010
    Hastings, MI
    I had a Bo sitting in a nest box for 3 days, I kept taking the eggs from her, and one day there were no eggs, it is winter here but I have been letting the chicks free range so the don't get bored, do anyways I felt like she needed some sunlight so I put her out with the others. It occurs to me now that maybe she was broody. Don't they pull out their chest feathers to keep the chicks warm, or line the nest?
     
  2. Judy

    Judy Moderator Staff Member

    34,028
    453
    448
    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    To some extent, yes. Mine never get really, really bare, though, just thin. Mainly they sit in the next box 24/7, getting up usually only once a day for a few minutes to eat, drink, poop a huge broody poop, and sometimes get a little exercise like a fast dust bath or a little pecking and scratching. Typically they flatten out on the nest, as if to cover a bunch of eggs. Also, they typically growl and fluff up if you get near the nest, and peck at you like mad if you reach in. My best broody never growled or pecked at me but she was my pet, and she sat for weeks and weeks on nothing, then did a great job of mothering when I bought her a few chicks and slipped them under her.

    If she went back to the nest in a few minutes after you put her out, she may well be broody. But one way to break a broody is take them off the nest and make them go run around and be a chicken. I've done this with success a couple of times, but usually I have to take them off a couple of times a day, or more over several days. I had one who persisted in being broody for months even though I did this daily.

    Broodies never poop the nest. Chickens who just like to sleep in nests always do if they're there long enough.

    Of course all rules have exceptions, but I've never seen one with the pooping the nest thing.
     
  3. abqferreira

    abqferreira Out Of The Brooder

    87
    3
    38
    Jun 14, 2010
    Albuquerque, New Mexico
    The hen will suddenly start making a funny noise when you find her in the nest box and will start fluffing up her feathers when you open the door. It's hard to describe, but once you've seen them do it, it's pretty obvious. If you're still not sure, keep checking back and see if she's still in the box. I don't think most hens like to just spend time in the box during the day. It's more in their nature to go look for food. Pulling out the feathers seems to be harder to see- I wouldn't use that as much of an indicator, as my Banties have never pulled out enough to be bare.
     
  4. JennH07

    JennH07 Chillin' With My Peeps

    130
    0
    109
    May 1, 2010
    Hastings, MI
    I think she may have been broody, she covered the whole nest. But when i kicked her out she never went back, but she was only there for 3 days. Is there a way to get a chicken to go broody? And if a hen hatches her eggs can she rais the chicks on her owh or do I need to put them in a brooder?
     
  5. FireTigeris

    FireTigeris Tyger! Tyger! burning bright

    Quote:Broody hens. 'growl' for lack of better word-

    Some hens are good mommies and some are not 'wired' for it... (kinda like people).

    If she starts killing them, move them to a brooder, otherwise leave them with her.
     
  6. Judy

    Judy Moderator Staff Member

    34,028
    453
    448
    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    Quote:She is young so probably the hormones weren't strong enough. Maybe the next time she does this she will be a good broody.

    Almost all my broodies that stayed the three weeks and hatched the eggs also made good mamas, and there are advantages for the chickens to being broody raised. I did have one who killed her chicks as they hatched. Well, the others were dead and I caught the last murder.

    I once read on here someone claiming he could make a hen go broody by isolating her in a dark box for a few days. Only read it once and no one agreed.

    All about broodies:

    http://www.themodernhomestead.us/article/Broody-Hens-1.html
     
  7. JennH07

    JennH07 Chillin' With My Peeps

    130
    0
    109
    May 1, 2010
    Hastings, MI
    Thanks For All THe Info Guys!!! Really appreciated!!!
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by