How to Break a Broody Hen

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Sunny Side Up, May 13, 2009.

  1. Sunny Side Up

    Sunny Side Up Count your many blessings...

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    That would be interesting to track all that data to see if you spot any kind of trends. IMO each hen gets dealt her own unique hand of broody instincts & skills, combined with other variables including climate, housing, and flock dynamics. They all work together, along with the little voices only they hear in their heads and random signals from the Mother Ship orbiting overhead, to influence a hen to brood or stop brooding.
     
  2. Cadens Farm

    Cadens Farm Out Of The Brooder

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    I dunk their butt in a bucket of water daily, then put them in the cage. 2-3 days tops, and they will be running with the other birds again.
     
  3. bruceha2000

    bruceha2000 Chicken Obsessed

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    I think you are right, especially the signals from the Mother Ship [​IMG]. One of the few things I've seen in my short time having chickens that makes no sense for "instincts". No rooster yet they think they can hatch an egg, or in my girls' cases - pine shavings.

    I don't know where you live but if I did that my birds would be dead.

    Bruce
     
  4. Cadens Farm

    Cadens Farm Out Of The Brooder

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    Northwest Oregon. Obviously, sometimes the weather won't allow it, but when weather cooperates, it works great.
     
  5. ChristineMarie

    ChristineMarie New Egg

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    Yikes, I didn't think about health implications!

    Our only hen, a Leghorn, went broody almost 4 weeks ago. Her "sister" was killed by a hawk right before so at first we thought she was depressed! But she's definitely broody. [​IMG]

    I read this thread and learned about the "broody buster" when she first started, but our wire cage currently has chicks in it inside the house. I figured her not laying wasn't that important and she'd just snap out of it when she's ready...but 4 weeks!

    We kick her out of the coop everyday, but put her back in at night. We definitely need to figure out other arrangements and get/borrow another cage. My boyfriend picked her up yesterday and said she feels really light. Her comb is a bit duller, too.

    At night it's in the low 30's. Should I wait another week or so and see if she comes around? I don't want her to get too run down!
     
  6. bruceha2000

    bruceha2000 Chicken Obsessed

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    She's been broody a month - do not wait any longer. They don't eat when they are broody, or eat very little.
    Put the chicks in a cardboard box for a couple of days and get that hen in the cage. Elevate it so there is cold air under her. As I said, mine was close to the ground but it was fairly cold. After a month, I think you want her busted ASAP.

    Bruce
     
  7. primehellcat

    primehellcat New Egg

    Thanks Bruce
    2 days in time out and a scare from the staffy, when the chook got out of the cage - he had a bit of a chase, no harm to her.
    But the others are still off the lay
     
  8. sunshinegirl12

    sunshinegirl12 Out Of The Brooder

    I tried reading as much of this thread that I could, tired eyes by now. My dilemma, my BO is seven months old (I have 7 altogether, same age, my first ever, so im still new to this) i think she went broody well over a week ago. She has not moved from the nesting box. I tried to push her outside daily, she stays for awhile, pecks around and drinks some water. However ends back up inside in a short time. She has not layed during this period of time, with everything I've read leads me to believe that she is broody.

    Her name is Emily, she's not nasty with me when I take her out of the box, even though she squalks at me, she lets me hold her and coddle her, but I do have to push her to get her outside to get fresh air. Her poos (when i get her to go) have been rather large and I mean large (I hope that's normal). When she is outdoors she doesn't want to be bothered by her sisters, she pretty much wants to be left alone (is that normal?) . There is one of the other hens that will torment her when she is out doors(is that normal?), this is a new thing, they have always gotten along well.

    We do have a rooster (only by chance, same age, was suppose to be female,but turned out to be male). Our plans was not have a Roo, but didn't have the heart to let him go, we raised him since two days old, as with them all. They are like our kids..

    Anyway my real dilemma is: We are not in the market to be raising any more chicks, so we aren't letting their eggs be fertilized or hatched... If I were to put fake eggs under Emily would that help at all or do I really need to do this extra prison cage thing? Our coop is only 6x8 and a little tight for the cage to go into and our nesting boxes are stationary to the coop... Please help, I'm worried about her. I've also put food and water in the nesting box that she has chosen, but I don't think that she is eating any in there, the food never looks disturbed.
     
  9. bruceha2000

    bruceha2000 Chicken Obsessed

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    I haven't had chickens much longer than you so if others with more experience have a different opinion, CHIME IN!

    Yes she is broody. Mine acted just like that. Think of her "not normal activity" when off the nest as "chicken PMS" - hormones.

    Putting fake eggs under her would be a bad idea IMHO. You want her OFF the nest and ON the feed. The fake eggs are just a way to "suggest" to them that "this" is a GOOD place to lay an egg because another chicken thought it was a good place.

    The cage doesn't have to be big. I made mine the size I did for 2 reasons:
    1. I had two stupid chickens trying to hatch pine shavings
    2. It was convenient given the scrap wood I had. I made it with the minimum amount of work needed to make it SOMEWHAT rectangular and symmetrical. It doesn't even have a piece of wood at the top along the back.

    If you consider how little space she has in the nest, you can see the cage only needs to be big enough for her, food and water.

    Bruce
     
  10. Sunny Side Up

    Sunny Side Up Count your many blessings...

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    Bruce, that's excellent advice. There's a lot about keeping chickens that's fairly easy to learn, especially if you're an observant person. So it doesn't take long before you realize "Hey, I can answer that question!" And we all have a lot to learn from each other, no matter how long we've been doing this.

    Sunshine, all your hen's actions are very typical of a broody hen, especially the big smelly broody poop. They save it up special to leave a day's worth with one push. Sometimes it seems a large dog has visited the coop!

    Buff Orpingtons tend to be a broody breed -- although NONE of my BOs have ever tried it, guess they haven't read the same catalogs that I have -- so she may need some convincing. If you let her set on fake eggs she may stay there for months. You may have to get creative with your Broody Buster, set it outdoors in a bright (but not too hot) place during the day, hang it from the rafters at night. It doesn't have to be large, just enough room for her to stand & access food & water. My BB cage is a heavy wire parrot cage on a stand, about 3 feet square.

    Another solution would be to ask your poultry-keeping friends & neighbors if they have any fertile eggs they'd like for you to set for them. Your hen could set any kind of poultry egg, duck, goose, turkey, guinea. It would be ideal if you can make a separate place for her to brood, and have at least 3-4 weeks to raise her babies. Then they could go back to whoever gave you the eggs and your hen could go back to her regularly scheduled programming.

    If this hen continually goes back to being broody and you would rather have a career girl who prefers laying, you may want to trade this hen to someone who needs a good broody.
     

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