How to tell when a hen goes broody?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by lhowland, Jan 5, 2012.

  1. lhowland

    lhowland Out Of The Brooder

    Nov 27, 2011
    I have read about broody hens and am wondering. When they go broody, they just stay on their nest all day and won't move? The reason I am asking is because this spring I am thinking about possibly getting fertilized eggs and letting a hen hatch them for us. Does that turn out well, the hen hatching not her egg? I also read some where that some hens are broodier than others. I have Rhode Island Reds and Barred Rocks, are they a broody breed or should I just think about getting chicks? Thank you!
  2. bikerchic

    bikerchic Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 22, 2011
    Some breeds are more prone to broodyness than others. If you look under the breed section on here it tells you if they tend to go broody or not. I have had the best luck with cochins and silkies. You will know they are broody because they won't leave the nest and will growl when you come near.
  3. Farm Frenzy

    Farm Frenzy Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 16, 2008
    Oak Hill, Florida
    Reds and Rocks are definitely not a broody breed. I have had an occassional Barred Rock sit for a few days, then stop. If you want a broody chicken get a bantam, silkie's work the best for me...all I have to do is leave eggs in a nest and they're going broody all over the place. They actually fight over who's gonna sit on them [​IMG]
  4. Dora'smom

    Dora'smom Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 14, 2009
    I've got a lot of birds, and have only had two of them go broody. My birds are mostly hatchery stock, and that plays a part in it, as I understand that they breed broodiness out of their birds, in favor of more egg-laying tendency.
    My reliable broody is a cuckoo marans, and her way of letting us all know, is to simply sit in her desired nest box, and not leave. She will sit day and night, and will only exit briefly, each day, to eat, drink, poo, and bully the nearest bird briefly. Then it's back on the nest. She is a great broody, as she will growl and kind-of chitter at us, when we get close, or pet her, but she has never bit, pecked, etc., and my husband and I have actually removed eggs from her clutch, while she is sitting, and she never tried to bite, etc.
    We haven't had a rooster until recently (and he is gorgeous, and we love him, but he may not be staying if the neighbors complain), so we rely on purchased or donated eggs for her to sit on. It works out well. We show her the eggs, and she rolls them under herself, fluffs her petticoats, and sits. When she actually hatches babies, we have sometimes purchased a couple of extra chicks from the feed store, and presented them to her. She has always raised up, fluffed, and allowed the little ones to run under her, and then broods them, as well. I'm not sure most birds will do that, but she has, every time we have given her the opportunity.
    Good luck with your bird. Hatching out babies has been a great experience for us.
  5. lhowland

    lhowland Out Of The Brooder

    Nov 27, 2011
    Thanks everyone!!!

    Hens can actually "growl"??? Ok maybe I don't want to encourage being broody. I had, gotten recently gotten over, a fear of fowl, which having my girls has helped me greatly. Before I wouldn't even get out of the car if I saw a chicken or anything feathered walking around, now I can pick mine up without gloves and I no longer have that terror feeling. I do not want a hen to peck at me! UGH! I thought I wanted to raise a few chicks this spring. [​IMG] If I buy a few chicks do you think my hens will accept them? I don't want the chicks to get picked on. I have 13 fowl all together 3 RIR, 7BR and 3 guinea hens. Somehow I got super lucky and ended up with all hens. Thank you!
  6. Silkie-lover33

    Silkie-lover33 Chillin' With My Peeps

    I currently have 3 broody silkies. One way you can tell if a hen is broody is by her cackle. When they go broody they sit in the nest just like there going to lay an egg but when you or another chicken comes up to them they screech. Sometimes when my hens go broody I notice significant feather loss on there chest. Also when a hen is broody her body temperature rises. Good luck hatching eggs!
  7. Silkie-lover33

    Silkie-lover33 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oh, and by the way, if you get a silkies and spend time with them they will literally beg to be picked up. When my silkies want to lay an egg they come to me instead of going to their nesting boxes! Plus, their so darn cute!
  8. SouthernBYChickens

    SouthernBYChickens Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 7, 2011
    Last spring we had 6 chickens. I noticed one of them (not sure of breed because I got them from a local older farmer) continued sitting in the nesting box and never coming out. I realized she was in a "setting" stage (which I guess is called broody) so I stopped by another chicken man's place on the way home the next day and purchased a dozen possibly fertilized eggs of 3 different breeds. What was entertaining was how she got this confused look on her face when I opened the back of the nest box up and reached in adding the 12 fertilized eggs to her already 2 non-fertilized eggs. She freaked out a bit and growled at me and pecked the fire out of my hand, but I finally got them all under her. Long story short - she sat on all of them and around 21 days later, 7 of them hatched out. It was amazing to watch how she took to all of the chicks as if they were really hers for the next few weeks. Our experience showed that more than likely your hen will not mind or know the difference that they are not really her "maternal" chicks. She'll raise them either way. [​IMG]
  9. lhowland

    lhowland Out Of The Brooder

    Nov 27, 2011
    So is it safe to assume that if I bring home chicks then a hen or a few hens will accept the chicks and look after them? All the girls seem very friendly and very curious about new strange things.
  10. aoxa

    aoxa Overrun With Chickens

    Barred rocks DO go broody. Especially if they are heritage stock.

    They will growl and puff up and almost hiss at you.

    They won't leave the nest and will not poop in their nest.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by