Is Broodiness Itself a Problem?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by aghiowa, Jan 27, 2011.

  1. aghiowa

    aghiowa Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sep 14, 2010
    Hi all! I have a backyard flock of 4 laying pullets and one 2-yr old hen, who is a Cochin/Ameraucana cross. That darn hen goes broody every chance she gets. I wish I had something for her to hatch, but alas, our city doesn't allow roosters. So...I know the way to break a broody hen is to put her somewhere away from the nest where she can have a cool underside. However, that's really hard to do right now because it's very cold here. I can't just close up the nests because the other ladies use them, and I can't leave her outside or in the garage (too cold). Last time (like 6 weeks ago), after she got worn down and somewhat sick, we ended up putting her inside a baby gate enclosure in the basement, but that's not ideal. Is there any harm in trying to wait our her broodiness, assuming we make sure she's getting adequate food and water? Is it a phase that will eventually stop, or should we try to break it as soon as we see it? She's very persistant. Any tips/advice for this brood, and for the future?

    Thanks!
    Angela
     
  2. BeardedLadyFarm

    BeardedLadyFarm Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 31, 2009
    Cobleskill NY
    I'm a little more cautious with broodies in the winter, because it takes a lot of energy to even keep their own bodies warm. If they're only eating a few bites a day, it's easy for them to become think and weak.

    I'd try the wire bottomed cage approach, maybe in your garage. If it truly is too cold you could give her a bit of overhead heat, but the circulating air on her belly should break her pretty quickly. If you have a persistent one, it's best to keep this cage set up, as you will need it again.

    I had some stubborn broodies last winter, but so far so good this winter. (now that I say that I will find 5 sleeping in their nests tonight....)
     
  3. nuchickontheblock

    nuchickontheblock Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 16, 2010
    south portland, maine
    I also have a couple of ameraucanas that take turns being broody. We don't have a roo and I'm thinking I might want to hatch some eggs we get from a local farm friend, but that will have to wait until Spring. I have one girl that we have broken using the wire cage routine a couple of times in November and Dec, but it is really too cold/snowy/windy to put her on the porch again. So for now, I take her out of the nest a couple of times a day. More if we are home on the weekend; and try to get her out of the coop for a while to eat and run around a bit, but with all our recent snow storms it's been hard, as all the girls want to stay inside. I am just going to let her go as long as she has to, and continue to try to feed her high nutrition food when we do take her off the nest. the only up side is that she is keeping the eggs from freezing during the past few days when we have had below zero temps. We also added an extra nest box (we had only 1 for 3 hens) because she was hogging the favorite nest box.

    Poor thing . . . those hormones are really strong! [​IMG]
     
  4. nuchickontheblock

    nuchickontheblock Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 16, 2010
    south portland, maine
    I always feel concerned about this. will I seriously harm my chicken if I allow her to continue to be broody in this winter weather?? I do make every effort to get her off the nest and to eat and drink a couple of times each day or more. when she does, she is ravenous and seems to eat alot.
     
  5. Lollipop

    Lollipop Chillin' With My Peeps

    Quote:Hi Angela,
    There is no harm in letting her set til the cycle passes. There is no need to be concerned about her health as she is merely doing what nature dictates and nature will not let her starve or get so weak she cannot make a comeback. The only valid reason for breaking a broody is for the sake of eggs, so if you can`t live without whatever eggs she may produce, then break her. Otherwise just let nature run it` course. You will never hear of a hen damaging herself by being broody, although many concerned folks feel they know better. Chickens are lots of fun. Don`t take them so seriously that you ruin it for yourself...............Pop
     
  6. WoodlandWoman

    WoodlandWoman Overrun With Chickens

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    There are some chickens that don't take care of themselves, though and some broodies have died. I think you really do have to watch them, to make sure they are taking care of themselves.

    Sometimes you can also break them by just taking them off the nest multiple times a day and putting them as far away from the nest as possible. It's really important to keep the eggs picked up, too. If they have eggs to sit on, it's really hard to break them. I've also found that it's easier to break them when they first start, than it is to let it go a few days and then try to start breaking them.

    As long as they are eating and drinking enough, it's not that bad for them. Getting them to eat, drink and poop are the most important things for their health. In bad weather, I'd make sure you're doing this in the morning and at night, so they have enough fuel in their bodies to deal with the cold temperatures.
     
  7. Lollipop

    Lollipop Chillin' With My Peeps

    Quote:This is interresting. Many people, especially folks with little broody experience, express concern over a broody dying, but nobody seems to ever have had one die, but you seem to have had some experience, have you ever had one die, or get close to dieing? I`ve been at this a long time and I`ve never even had one get so weak she couldn`t function. Tell me your experience..........Pop
     
  8. spartacus_63

    spartacus_63 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Central Iowa
    I've never had any get week or die either, never even heard of one. I have had one set for well over the 21 day mark, but she is a dedicated Bio-Brooder and takes good care of herself while setting.
     
  9. deerman

    deerman Rest in Peace 1949-2012

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    Aug 24, 2008
    Southern Ohio
    Quote:This is interresting. Many people, especially folks with little broody experience, express concern over a broody dying, but nobody seems to ever have had one die, but you seem to have had some experience, have you ever had one die, or get close to dieing? I`ve been at this a long time and I`ve never even had one get so weak she couldn`t function. Tell me your experience..........Pop

    X2 I use broody game hen, to set prefowl eggs . They set for 3 months, never had one get weak, die, or even get thin..the setting give them alot of rest, mine all get off to eat, drink, and poop......Never understand how people think a chicken setting on a nest, is so hard on them, lot easier than laying a egg every day non stop.
     
  10. aghiowa

    aghiowa Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Last time this one went broody, she lost quite a bit of weight, and was very wheezy for a week or two. She also had discharge from her nostrils. I assumed that, since she was weakened by the broodiness + the cold weather, she managed to get sick. I'm not sure, but if we had not intervened, she may have died. But that's the extent of our experience. Anyone else?

    Angela
     

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