How long for Broody to return to optimal health?

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by dedicateddourly, Jun 23, 2011.

  1. dedicateddourly

    dedicateddourly Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 20, 2008
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    I'm not quite sure if this is the right section, but here goes....

    My broody hatched 7 chicks almost 3 weeks ago. She did eat and drink daily while setting, but I had to force her off the nest. She had the normal huge broody poops. She seemed pretty healthy the whole time and her comb never got really pale or flopped over, but of course it lost some luster. Since she's been raising her babies, it seems like she is less healthy than before. Her skin is dry and her comb is a bit more pale. I noticed a lesion on her comb today too, though her flockmate may have pecked her, not sure. I noticed that she might be too good of a mom. She eats, but not as much as before, always giving the best to her babies. When I give certain treats like mealworms, she doesn't keep any for herself. So it seems like maybe she isn't getting the nutrients she needs.

    In addition to this, it seems like whatever food she DOES eat isn't properly digested. I can see grass and grains in her poop, though there is also normal poop in there. Could this be a result of her only eating once a day while being broody. Maybe her gizzard atrophied a bit, and it will take some time for her to digest normally again? Am I grasping here? I guess I want to know if this is normal for a broody. Will she return to normal once she kicks the babies out of the nest?

    I just want to make sure she isn't ill. Her tail is up and she's active and happy. And like I said, she's a great mom. What do you all think?

    I should also add that I think the stress of her being broody might be triggering a molt as well.
     
    Last edited: Jun 23, 2011
  2. HorseFeatherz NV

    HorseFeatherz NV Eggink Chickens

    I am just guessing here at a few things:


    Lice - have you looked her over for them or dusted her for them lately?


    Grit - Does she have access to any?


    What type of feed is she getting? You can feed her a higher protein feed also to help boost her back.
     
  3. cherylcohen

    cherylcohen The Omelet Ranch

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    I 2nd checking for lice/mites. My broody had them...argh

    Other thing you might try is giving her some poly-vi-sol as a pick me up
     
  4. dedicateddourly

    dedicateddourly Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 20, 2008
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    Thanks for the quick response. Yes, we checked her over several times for parasites and she looks clean We have never dusted, but she does dust-bathe in sand, dirt and DE.

    She has a lot of dirt and gravel, and I did also put out some commercial grit.

    She is eating a mixture of Modesto Milling chick starter and layer crumble.

    She also gets BOSS, though I'm not sure how much she actually gets because her babies are pigs.
     
  5. dedicateddourly

    dedicateddourly Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 20, 2008
    Fallbrook, CA
    Hi Cheryl,

    I have no pol-vi-sol, but I gave her some vitamins/electrolytes on those hot days this week.

    So I'm guessing this isn't normal for a broody?
     
  6. HorseFeatherz NV

    HorseFeatherz NV Eggink Chickens

    She is a good mom to feed her babies first and as they start to age she will slowly start to wean them.


    Each broody is different. I have some who are weaning at 3 weeks (way to young for my liking) and I have a few who let their chicks self wean. My girl Sylvia let her pullets stay with her a year, the cockerel chick she kicked to the curb when he was 9 weeks - not sure what she will do with this batch.



    You can also scramble or boil up some eggs - give them to her and the babies. Feed her lots, when the babies are full - she will eat what she needs.




    eta: her "condition" may have nothing to do with being broody................sometimes they have a heart condition or other internal problems that slowly start to show themselves but I am hoping she is just a selfless momma.
     
    Last edited: Jun 23, 2011
  7. dedicateddourly

    dedicateddourly Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Fallbrook, CA
    Quote:Thanks HorseFeatherz. I give them scrambled eggs every other day, and only 1 egg to share between 2 hens and 7 chicks. Maybe I will increase the amount and/or frequency. I give them yogurt too. Have you ever seen this with a broody?
     
  8. dedicateddourly

    dedicateddourly Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 20, 2008
    Fallbrook, CA
    Quote:I hope it's just being selfless mama too. I do fear though that it might be something internal. I had some issues with her laying soft-shelled eggs before. I guess I will just give her lots of easily digestible food and protein-rich food for now and see what happens.
     
  9. Bravo

    Bravo Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I went through my first broody experience this spring and like your girl, she too was too good of a mother.

    When I noticed she was skinny and not seeming to bounce back I started separating her after she fed her babies. I'd take her out of the pen so she could still see them and feed her the same thing she fed them, chick starter mixed with chopped hardboiled egg and yogurt but since she was separated she actually ate. It took a few tries for her to get the hang of it. The first couple of times she'd grab a piece of egg and run over to the pen and drop it in for the babies but eventually she learned to relish her meals and time away. [​IMG]

    When they were 7 weeks old I knew she was done with them when one evening she walked them from the yard, inside the garage where their brooder was and literally pushed and nicely pecked them to go in to bed. Once they were all inside she bee-lined back to adult flock to continue ranging and roosted with them that night. It still makes me laugh every time I think about it.

    Hope this helps!
     
  10. dedicateddourly

    dedicateddourly Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 20, 2008
    Fallbrook, CA
    Bravo, that's such a cute story. Separating her from her babies sounds like a good idea. She does get anxious though with any kind of barrier between them. I guess it might take a few attempts.

    Did you ever notice any digestion problems?
     
    Last edited: Jun 23, 2011

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