1. If this is your first time on BYC, we suggest you start with one of these three options:
    Raising Chickens Chicken Coops Join BYC
    If you're already a member of our community, click here to login & click here to learn what's new!

How long can a broody be away from the nest?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Ravie, Apr 18, 2011.

  1. Ravie

    Ravie Chillin' With My Peeps

    314
    3
    113
    Aug 4, 2010
    Greenfield, Indiana
    I have a 9-month-old Easter Egger who disappeared for 4-5 days. I assumed she'd been killed but she came back home one day to eat and drink before running off again. I didn't see her for another 4-5 days after that.

    This pattern has repeated a few times. If I were to guess, I'd say she's been sitting on the eggs for roughly two weeks now. I have not been able to locate the nest.

    She's been home all day today and it's in the 70's. I'm assuming she's abandoned her kids and I'm pretty sad about it. If I knew where the eggs were, I'd gather them and try to finish incubating them myself.

    Is this common? Could she still decide to return to the nest? How long can the eggs wait for her?
     
  2. Pinky

    Pinky Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 15, 2008
    South GA
    Your broody hen knows just how long is too long off the nest [​IMG] It is normal for a broody to get off the nest to eat, drink and poop. I had one hen that got off her nest every day for at least an hour to eat, drink and take dust baths before returning.
     
  3. Ravie

    Ravie Chillin' With My Peeps

    314
    3
    113
    Aug 4, 2010
    Greenfield, Indiana
    Thanks, Pinky.

    I realize they get off to eat, drink, and poop, but she was home for 10 hours straight before disappearing again. As far as I know she's out and about again today.
     
  4. Pinky

    Pinky Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 15, 2008
    South GA
    When it gets closer to hatching time my hens run around a lot longer than normally, checking out the best places to bring their chicks and finding safe places for them. Don't forget to share some pics when they hatch!
     
  5. D'Angelo N Va.

    D'Angelo N Va. Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 28, 2009
    last year one of my D'uccle hens had been on the nest for about 2 weeks and then she got off the nest one morning and stayed off all day and that night got back on and her eggs all hatched.
     
  6. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

    17,450
    2,078
    456
    Sep 19, 2009
    Holts Summit, Missouri
    Most recent hen I had produce a brood generally stayed off nest for 1 to 1.5 hours each day except on really cold days when she appeared to sit tight. Time off nest also related to how long required to feed up (top crop off). On several occasions feeding up took multiple hours because other birds consumed feed I set out for her. Clutch required 24 days following onset of brooding for first eggs to hatch. Time off nest may need to be factored into estimating hatch date when time before and during incubation is cold.
     
  7. Ravie

    Ravie Chillin' With My Peeps

    314
    3
    113
    Aug 4, 2010
    Greenfield, Indiana
    Thank-you all for your help. My broody seems to have abandoned the nest and since I never found it, the babies are lost. She hasn't sat on her nest for nearly 48 hours and even slept in the coop last night. I'm bummed! Here's hoping my BR, BO or RIR will want to sit eggs when they're older. Maybe I should have gotten a cochin or silkie after all!
     
  8. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

    17,450
    2,078
    456
    Sep 19, 2009
    Holts Summit, Missouri
    Quote:It is very likely clutch lost to predation if brooding stopped shy of hatch date. Happens a lot. She will recondition and likely attempt in another location.
     
  9. Pinky

    Pinky Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 15, 2008
    South GA
    Quote:It is very likely clutch lost to predation if brooding stopped shy of hatch date. Happens a lot. She will recondition and likely attempt in another location.

    I agree. I don't think she would just stop unless disturbed. Maybe next time she will go broody in your coop, or at least yard.
     
  10. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

    17,450
    2,078
    456
    Sep 19, 2009
    Holts Summit, Missouri
    This may be appropriate for existing thread. I have a red jungle fowl (RJF) brooding a clutch in nest on front porch adjacent to were I sit down and watch free ranging flock and piddle fart in internet. It has enabled me to compare her brooding activities to those of an American game hen (Sallie) that hatched off a brood just over 2 weeks ago. Like Sallie she allows me to touch her and inspect eggs but unlike Sallie I suspect once brood hatches she will actively avoid me and flog if I approach to close. This RJF hen comes off nest twice a day to forage and seems to roll eggs multiple times during course of day. I wonder if her smaller size (similar although slightly larger than a bantam) requires her to feed more often.

    Sallie is presently attacking my computer case trying get food from it. Kind of funny.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by