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How to tell when broody hen is ready to lay again?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Carobean, Apr 29, 2009.

  1. Carobean

    Carobean In the Brooder

    Apr 11, 2008
    So many posts on broody hens who are sadly not destined to be mothers, but I couldn't find the answer to my question: My almost-a-year-old Buff Orpington (Poppy) has crossed over to the broody side, and since it's been nearly a week with her sitting on no eggs and my evicting her 4-5 times a day so she'll eat and drink (only to have her return to her vigil), today I've orchestrated it so she was confined in a run while the other 3 laid their eggs, and then I let her out with the others but with no access to the nest boxes. I can keep doing this, but how will I know when she is actually ready to lay an egg again? Is it when she ceases the other behaviors that are accompanying this, when her "brood patch" (I believe that's what the bare spot is called) is gone, or will it just come to me in a dream? I don't want to force her to lay in the yard somewhere if she really needs to...thanks

  2. CoopCrazy

    CoopCrazy Brooder Boss

    Mar 3, 2009
    Bump For u
  3. EricShane

    EricShane Songster

    Apr 12, 2009
    SouthWestern Ohio
    Interesting! I wanna know this tooooo! even though I dont think my girl will 'ever' go broody seems like! *siiiigh*
  4. nhnanna

    nhnanna Songster

    Jul 18, 2008
    The chicken coop
    I would like to know the answer also.
  5. countrybum

    countrybum Songster

    Sep 15, 2008
    area pop. 96
    If she is wanting to sit, she will not lay an egg for 21/22 days. My broodies will not lay until the time frame of the hatching is over. You should just let her sit on a few. The will spoil if not fertile, she will eat them when the burst and in the end whe will lay again and start all over.
  6. heyeddah

    heyeddah Songster

    Sep 15, 2008
    Milford Ct
    I am only going to share my status as I am not experienced.
    Our Silkie went broody just before we went on vacation. She sat one week on one egg. Before I went away I tricked her and put four eggs from my Austrolop under her. We came back form vacation to find her still sitting. On day 25 my son and I went to toss/crack the eggs. One had a pip, so we put them all in an incubator. Two hatched by day 26. The others were dead in the shell fully formed. I had read that the sound of the chicks chirping breaks broody, so I brought the silkie in to sit on the chicks. After an hour I sent her back to the coop where she proceeded to sit on her nest So I blocked off her nest and returned her to the outside run. I went to work and when I cam home she was sitting on the egg laid by the austrolop that day. I took the egg and tossed her in the run again where I offered treats.
    After one more day she went back to going out in the run for the day and back in the coop at night. I have a silkie rooster who got back to work. Now I am wondering when she will begin laying eggs again.
    Sorry this was so long, but it gives the order of how we went through broody. Good luck. I hope I gave you some info.
    Also, my two liuttle fuzzy butt mixed breeds are very cute and doing well!!
  7. Sunny Side Up

    Sunny Side Up Count your many blessings...

    Mar 12, 2008
    Loxahatchee, Florida
    Some hens are easier to break their broody mood than others. Some can be discouraged by continuing to take them off the nest, even carrying them across the yard. But most need at least a few days in a wire-bottomed cage (like a rabbit or parrot cage) set up high on blocks or sawhorses. They need food & water in the cage, but no bedding. The breeze they feel up underneath helps break their broody mood.

    Leave them in the cage for 3-4 days (unless they begin laying in the cage) then let them out and see what they do. If they go back to their nest spot, they'll need a few more days in the broody buster. But if they go back to their regular routine, then their broody mood is probably broken.

    If they haven't begun to lay in the cage, they'll probably begin laying soon after. I don't think it will be as long as 3 weeks.

  8. Carobean

    Carobean In the Brooder

    Apr 11, 2008
    Thanks for the replies. My issue has been resolved and Poppy is back to her old sweet self! I'd read various places that they can just resolve things naturally, but when I also read that they are more prone to external parasites, dehydration, etc., I decided to act. I wanted to post an update on our resolution: It only took 2 days of confining her to an outside run while the other girls were laying, and then letting her out with her buddies and closing the henhouse for everyone and closing access to the nestboxes at night before I let her back to her normal routine. I guessed she was back to normal when on that 3rd day I opened the house in the a.m. and she came running out with everyone else. No more puffing up and growling, and no more agitated and worried behavior told me she was out of her broody period. Of course, I kept an eye on her for a while and snatched eggs as soon as they were laid. She went back to laying herself after 3 more days. I was happy not to have to use the rabbit cage technique, the ice technique, or the hold-her-upside-down-in-cold-water technique, all which sounded too upsetting for me, suburban chicken-farmer and bleeding heart that I am.
  9. momofdrew

    momofdrew Songster

    what is a "broody patch" I dont remember seeing a bald spot on Minny when she was broody the last time...I think she is broody again as she wont leave the coop unless I move her then she eats and drinks then runs right back in No eggs under her...I thought she was having trouble laying but no she is incubating air pine shavings and poop...LOL
  10. Carobean

    Carobean In the Brooder

    Apr 11, 2008
    From my reading, a brood patch is an area of featherless skin that develops on birds' bellies when they're sitting on eggs. I think I read that chickens have more than one area and their feathers may fall out instead of get plucked out. On my hen, I could feel it when I picked her up but it was hard to see. It was very warm (apparently they develop a supplemental blood vessels to bring warm blood close to the skin) and may have been tender (she didn't like it touched when she was broody). The surrounding feathers may sort of cover it up when she's up and about, but when she settles on the nest she wiggles around to get the eggs in contact with the bare skin. Pretty cool. Cool as in nifty, not temperature...
    Last edited: May 5, 2009

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