How Long Does it Take?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by ClareScifi, Jun 6, 2011.

  1. ClareScifi

    ClareScifi Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 30, 2011
    How long might it take a broody chicken to starve to death?

    My broody chicken under the house is not getting off her nest. The last 2 days I've placed a saucer of water and sprinkled food near the narrow opening by where I think her nest is. I've seen her beak and heard her make a few soft clucking noises those past 2 days, but today I haven't seen or heard a thing and the food and water doesn't seem to have been touched.

    I am worried. How long would it take for a broody chicken to starve to death?

    I have read that you shouldn't put food and water near their nest because they'll foul the nest and they need to get off it for exercise or their joints will go bad. But she was not coming out at all and I felt it was important for her to get some nourishment.

    I can't get under the house. There is no way to do so without tearing up the structure, and it is actually my neighbor's house, though I share a part of it.

    Do you think she might be dead? The eggs are unfertilized. I had tried to get fencing around the bottom of the house, but the neighbor decided he didn't want it. So now there is nothing I can do. He's away for another week on vacation, and I'm afraid he'll come home to the smell of a dead chicken under his living room floor.

    All suggestions will be appreciated. Does anyone know what percentage of broody hens die of starvation on the nest? She is a Plymouth Barred Rock, 15 months old.
  2. WestKnollAmy

    WestKnollAmy The Crazy Chicken Lady

    Apr 22, 2008
    upstate SC
    If she was healthy to start with she won't die sitting on eggs unless it is from heat exhaustion. They do not starve to death.
    I have hens that have been on the nests for 7 weeks now. They each get up for about 15 minutes and are back on an empty nest. Rotten little girls.

    I never place food and water close because I do want them up off the nests. If these girls were in for breeding I would break them but they are through for a while and I do not care if they lay or not. They will probably molt soon and I may toss them back in a breeding pen.

    If the hen is not on fertile eggs I would get a net and get her broody butt out and put her in a small pen for a few weeks. She should get over it and go back to being a wild and wacky woman about the yard.

    Good luck!
  3. ClareScifi

    ClareScifi Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 30, 2011
    Thanks for what you shared.

    I have tried to break her of her broodiness in the past, but she is a hard case.

    She first went under the house in November, near Thanksgiving, and I thought a wild animal had gotten her. But I saw her feet under there the next day and coaxed her out and got her in her pen.

    This Spring she's exhibited weird behavior. Sleeping atop her sister in the coop at night. She has so much broodiness in her that I guess her hormones are wack-o, and sleeping atop her sister keeps her breast warm? Her sister has been good to put up with it.

    The broody girls' legs have been orangey since March, whereas her sister's are very white.

    When she started going under the house, I'd put her in the coop for 4 days and she would be broken of her broodiness for a week or so, and then it would start up again... I like to let her free-range for exercise since she's kind of big (maybe too fat?), and that's why I didn't keep her cooped up for longer intervals, plus I read that 4 days was enough.

    But lately, she would take off in the late afternoon and go under the house. I thought she was merely taking dustbaths, but, no, she decided to spend the night. Then she'd come out and play with her sister all day. I thought that was okay, as long as no wild animal got her under the house. I did smell a skunk 2 nights ago, but I saw her beak under the house yesterday and heard her.

    I am afraid putting food by her nest under the house could attract skunks. I've heard that skunks only eat eggs and leave chickens alone, but that they can kill a sleeping chicken, which scares me...

    Three days ago she decided to stay under the house and not come out during the days. I haven't seen her come off the nest once.

    I wonder whether she could have had a disease in combination with her broodiness, and the 2 together have done her in?

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by