I have broody issues!!! Need help, I think????

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by luvmychicknkids, Jun 21, 2009.

  1. luvmychicknkids

    luvmychicknkids Canning Squirrel

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    Alright, I have my first broody. A BLRW named Gretel. She is on day 6 with her little eggies and quite proud of her "babies". Today when she got up for a little potty break, my black sex link ,Raven, immediately hopped on the eggs and settled in. I picked her up, scolded her and made her go outside. I turned around to see that my little unknown heritage brown hen, Sophie, was snuggled in looking quite proud of herself. I did the same with her. About that time Gretel was back and freaked out seeing other people trying to steal her babies. She got back on the nest and I thought all was well. Went out later to check and one of her fellow BLRW, Lola, had crowded her back and was sitting, facing her, on half the eggs. I took her off and since it was bedtime anyway, sat her in her normal spot to sleep. As I shut the door I saw her hopping back down to take over her half of the babies!!! NOW WHAT????? I have 3 other hens trying to steal Gretel's eggs!!! Poor Gretel. Should I move her somewhere? But I don't want her caged. What do people normally do? I have never dealt with a broody before!!
     
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2009
  2. pbjmaker

    pbjmaker Crowing

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    Good question - this has been an ongoing issue in my coop. I call it contagious broody disease. I have 7 hens setting now and one with chicks. One of the seven setters actually hatched out her chick the other day but then promptly ditched it with the other mama and stole more eggs.

    I've come to the conclusion that at this point there is no real fighting and the eggs are continually covered so I will let it be.

    Dipsey Doodle also has a broodie pile on her coop floor. I think she just gave them like 48 eggs and let them sort it out.
     
  3. luvmychicknkids

    luvmychicknkids Canning Squirrel

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    ROFL.....a broody pile!!!! I can see that happening here. Just gather all the warm, steamy chicken tummies together and let them have a hatching party!!! So I guess this is normal behavior!!! [​IMG] No one even THOUGHT about having babies until poor Gretel decided to!!!
     
  4. Goose and Fig

    Goose and Fig Grateful Geese

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    You HAVE TO seperate the broody- or other hens will sit and lay eggs in there. You'll have a big mess on your hands trying to sort the set eggs and new ones and so on.

    If you don't have a dog crate or seperate pen- some people even bring their broody in the house. Really not a bad idea- they don't get up but once a day.
     
  5. pbjmaker

    pbjmaker Crowing

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    Seperating them works great when its only one or two. I have had up to 9 at once. They do fine all together and my big BCM roo sits in the coop and guards them.

    ETA: I just made sure I marked what eggs I am allowing to develop and then grab any unmarked ones daily.
     
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2009
  6. Chicky Tocks

    Chicky Tocks Songster

    Oct 20, 2008
    Benton, Arkansas
    My chickens like to get in and lay right up next to my broody. When they're done, the broody steals the egg that they've laid. I was concerned like you are that these girls were trying to steal her hatch, but all they're doing is laying their eggs (don't they all want the same nest anyway?) I'm inundated with chickens right now, but I couldn't resist just one broody hatch. I let her keep 5 eggs.

    I scribbled on all of her eggs and now once a day, usually later in the evening, I go out and lift her butt up and take what's not scribbled on. Be careful doing this because Broody Sue has shown me her grudge for doing this by pooping on me.

    Funny thing is I put a plastic potato bin in the other side of the laying boxes and a couple of the hens have decided that this is now the nicer place to lay and that's where they go now.
     
  7. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Free Ranging

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    Were the other hens broody or were they just trying to lay eggs in the nest? It is not that unusual for more than one to go broody at the same time, but also other hens seem to like to lay in a broody's nest.

    Since you said you do not want to put Gretel in a cage, my recommendation is to put any of the other hens that are truly broody into a broody buster and calm their hormones. I know it is putting her in a cage but consider it protective custody until she has regained control of herself. I know some people let multiple broodies hatch together and sometimes it works out. A lot of times it does not work out. A hen may kill a chick that hatches under the other hen. Broodies sometimes fight over the chicks and chicks get hurt in the process. It may work out for you but I personally don't like the odds and would not do it. They are your chickens and it is your decision, not mine. I wish you luck whichever way you decide to go.

    I trust you have marked the eggs she is trying to hatch and that you are removing any freshly laid eggs from her nest daily.
     
  8. luvmychicknkids

    luvmychicknkids Canning Squirrel

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    Actually, no. [​IMG] I don't have them marked. I had no clue they would lay fresh eggs in her nest. So, I guess at this point my only choice is to candle and mark any developing eggs. I do have a kennel I can use if I decide I have to. I may to protect her and her babies.
     
  9. Debbienmousey

    Debbienmousey Songster

    In my experience it seems like hens like to lay on a big pile of eggs. I guess they're very proud birds.

    I always lock up my broodies, they have special broody boxes in the coop and I put something, like a rack, on front of the box to keep the broodies in until I let them out each day.

    If you think the rest of your hens are simply jealous that Gretel has so many eggs, try getting some golf balls or fake eggs and put those in a different nesting box. Of course, Gretel will get fooled by this too when she gets off, so you'll still have to make sure she always gets back on her nest.

    Good luck!
     
  10. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Free Ranging

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    First time can be a steep learning curve, but after that, it gets easier.

    You have a bit if a problem, but if you really have two broody hens, you have a fairly easy solution. There are eggs under Gretel that will develop and hatch at different times, but all within six or seven days of each other.

    First, mark all eggs curently under her with a black magic marker. Even if you are going to isolate both broodies, I'd use numbers or letters so I could identify each egg. I'm not sure why numbers or letters but it might come in handy. Remove any fresh eggs daily if you don't isolate. Then set up two separate nesting areas, one for each broody. One can be out with the other hens if you want but one needs to be isolated.

    Once both broodies are established in their separate nests, candle the eggs and put the most developed under one hen and the least developed under the other. At hatch time, you can shuffle the unhatched eggs to the later hen and, for a couple of days, take chicks that hatch in the second nest and give them to the first hen after they have dried off. This should save most of the eggs. It will require some work from you during hatch time.

    If you don't truly have two broodies, get back with us. There may be other options to save most of the eggs other than an incubator.

    Good luck!
     

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