How long to let a broody go with no food or water?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by WalkingOnSunshine, Mar 7, 2013.

  1. WalkingOnSunshine

    WalkingOnSunshine Overrun With Chickens

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    I gave a broody hen some eggs three days ago. She hasn't stirred from that nest, and hasn't had food or water since I put her in there.

    I'm positive of this because we have a "broody house" which is a small enclosed nest box attached to a 2'x4' run. usually it stays out on the grass, but this hen is setting so early this year that I moved it into the barn because the weather is so changeable this time of year, and she has no other hens to snuggle with. To keep my barn floor clean, I cut open some feed bags and put them under the run part, so it's covered in brown paper. There is no poo on the paper, and no signs she came out of the nesting area (no straw dragged out of the door, etc.).

    How long to I let her set without eating? Do I get her up and put her near food every couple of days? There's no room for food and water in the nestbox itself. We've used this broody house for many years now, and the hens always get up and to out to eat and poop. This hen is less than a year old, and it's her first time sitting on eggs.

    As far as I know, it's been at least three days. It might be longer, because I let her sit on a nest in the big chicken house for four days before I was sure she was going to stay broody. Then I moved her to the broody house.

    Thanks!
     
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2013
  2. PSJ

    PSJ Chillin' With My Peeps

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    So there is no way to get food and water closer to her? I've never heard of a broody hen dying from not getting up to eat or drink.. I'm sure she eventually will. In my opinion, I would atleast get her off, and show her where the food and water is. Maybe stick her beak in it like you have to do chicks sometimes? Atleast it would make you feel better knowing that she knows where it is.
     
  3. Maah

    Maah Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I had a hen go broody last fall. She was broody the whole month of November... never seen her get off the nest, but I'm sure she must have. She wouldn't budge from her nest. In December we said... Fine... & put some eggs under her. She purred (LOL) and sat on her eggs all through December. They never hatched (though a couple did start to develop). However, she had lost a lot of weight and weakend... & yes, she passed away at the end of December.

    I have another broody hen (the daughter... these are both silkies and determined mothers) that went broody in January. For the first week or so, I never saw her get off the nest (no sign of her leaving the box). So we put the feeder right outside the box. Still nothing. Then we even sprinkled a little scratch and some bread pieces right practically under her beak. She never touched it even though it was a favorite treat of hers, and it sat there next to her for a couple days until we cleaned it up. Finally, I said.. well, enough of that. From then on we would physically remove her from the nest every afternoon, for the next month. Once she was off, she would eat a few tidbits, take a drink & stuff, and then go back to her nest. She was probably only off her nest a couple minutes a day, but at least we knew she was getting something. We also eventually put her on high protein feed to get her weight back up (since she too lost quite a bit of weight). Eventually, we decided to break her of being broody after about 5-6 weeks as she was sitting on nothing, imaginary eggs. We blocked off her nest boxes, opened the coop up for more light - it took a couple of days with a rather upset hen, but she's over it now and pretty much back to regulary daily life chicken stuff, though she's still not laying again.

    Maybe my silkies are just super hard core wanna be moms, but I didn't want a 2nd hen dying, which is why we chose to physically remove her from the nest each day.
     
  4. PSJ

    PSJ Chillin' With My Peeps

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    WOW! I would say they are pretty hard core. You may have to physically make her get off the nest to eat and drink. Her hatching babies isn't worth losing her.
     
  5. WalkingOnSunshine

    WalkingOnSunshine Overrun With Chickens

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    I guess I'll kick her off if she hasn't moved by tomorrow. She's definitely sitting the tightest of any bird I've ever seen. She's a dark Cornish, and was purchased specifically to brood eggs, so at least she's earning her keep!
     
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2013
  6. Den in Penn

    Den in Penn Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Try dusting the floor, with flour or the like, around the nest. If she gets up she will leave tracks in the dust for sure. Never heard for sure of a hen that starved or nearly starved, just some saying they had had one. Kicking her off the nest to eat if she hasn't wouldn't be bad.
     
  7. WalkingOnSunshine

    WalkingOnSunshine Overrun With Chickens

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    I kicked her off the nest this morning, and put her right next to the food and water. She sat there for a few minutes, shook herself, and walked back inside and sat down on those eggs. Not sure what I'm going to do with this one.

    I might make her a little omelet and put it near her beak. Silly creature.
     

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