Is it possible she might be broody!

Laurel09

Chirping
Aug 15, 2019
49
90
79
Hie everyone

I have 4 hens, three which are laying and one which isn't.

The 3 hens that are laying all use the same nest box when laying and I have marked and left 8 eggs in there and I collect the fresh ones and store them. I left 8 in there because I want to have a broody hen to hatch some eggs. For about a week now I have been noticing an odd behavior on the hen that isn't laying.For the past week she had been guarding the nest box which the other 3 hens use for laying and fights almost any hen she sees going close to the nest.

So today this happened. In the noon I went to check on the flock and realized that the other hen which wasn't laying was not with the group so I went to the nest boxes and found her in the nest with the 8 marked eggs, but I just left her because I thought she wanted to lay.Then later in the evening I went to the coop to add another hen which I bought and to my surprise she was still in there. I reached under her belly to see if she added an egg to the clutch of 8 marked ones that are in there but again there was no new egg but she was still sitting in there and she pecked at my hand several times as I was searching for a new egg.

Could she be broody even without laying any eggs. She has been sitting there for about 8 hours now
 

Epiphany

In the Brooder
Jan 7, 2018
23
26
49
Washington
Hi Laurel!
She sure sounds broody- the guarding, pecking, and sustained period of sitting are all good signs of a broody hen. If you want to ensure her comfort, I'd suggest finding some way to give her privacy from the other hens and making sure that she will be able to access fresh water and food without going too far. If she's in the most heavily used nest box, it may be wise to restrict the other hens from trying to use it, as this could result in conflict.
Broody hens also tend to be more susceptible to mites, lice, and disease, due to the fact that they sit in one place and don't dust bathe or move as often, so if you get the chance, check on her every so often when she gets up to eat or drink and ensure that she's feeling well.
One more thing: I'm sure you have this part down, but make sure that the eggs have had a chance to be fertilized! If you don't have a rooster, they may never hatch. Also, if the same 8 eggs have been sitting without the hen for a while, it may be a good idea to replace them with fresh ones that are still alive.
Good luck with hatching eggs!
Epiphany
 

DobieLover

Easily distracted by chickens
Premium Feather Member
Jul 23, 2018
33,119
269,382
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NY Southern Tier
My Coop
My Coop
Broody hens don't lay eggs once the broodiness starts. Broodies will happily sit on the eggs others have laid.
Is she puffing up when you reach to grab her on the nest? Is she making a growling, clucking sound like a ticking time bomb? If so, you have yourself a broody!

Now... let's go back to the part where you just bought a hen and put her in the coop with the others!!?? She should have been quarantined. She could have anything from a contagious disease to external parasites that you will not know about until she passes them on to the rest of your flock, broody momma included who will now be particularly susceptible to mites. Not to mention the beat down she is likely to get being a lone interloper in your flock. Some hens are severely pecked when just added into a flock.

Best and safest practice dictates 30 day quarantine if your property size permits. If she comes out okay from that, then a long period of "look don't touch" protected introduction before allowing intermingling within the flock. And even then, pecking and most often a bit of blood letting is inevitable even if you have far more than the minimum recommended space.

Another issue to consider is this bird also comes with a new strain of coccidia in her body that your birds have not been exposed to and vice versa. You will need to be on the lookout for an outbreak of coccidiosis.
 

Laurel09

Chirping
Aug 15, 2019
49
90
79
Broody hens don't lay eggs once the broodiness starts. Broodies will happily sit on the eggs others have laid.
Is she puffing up when you reach to grab her on the nest? Is she making a growling, clucking sound like a ticking time bomb? If so, you have yourself a broody!

Now... let's go back to the part where you just bought a hen and put her in the coop with the others!!?? She should have been quarantined. She could have anything from a contagious disease to external parasites that you will not know about until she passes them on to the rest of your flock, broody momma included who will now be particularly susceptible to mites. Not to mention the beat down she is likely to get being a lone interloper in your flock. Some hens are severely pecked when just added into a flock.

Best and safest practice dictates 30 day quarantine if your property size permits. If she comes out okay from that, then a long period of "look don't touch" protected introduction before allowing intermingling within the flock. And even then, pecking and most often a bit of blood letting is inevitable even if you have far more than the minimum recommended space.

Another issue to consider is this bird also comes with a new strain of coccidia in her body that your birds have not been exposed to and vice versa. You will need to be on the lookout for an outbreak of coccidiosis.
Thanks a lot , I'm beginning to see that I haven't been considering a lot of things. I think I'm going to take the new lady out right away.
 

Laurel09

Chirping
Aug 15, 2019
49
90
79
Hi Laurel!
She sure sounds broody- the guarding, pecking, and sustained period of sitting are all good signs of a broody hen. If you want to ensure her comfort, I'd suggest finding some way to give her privacy from the other hens and making sure that she will be able to access fresh water and food without going too far. If she's in the most heavily used nest box, it may be wise to restrict the other hens from trying to use it, as this could result in conflict.
Broody hens also tend to be more susceptible to mites, lice, and disease, due to the fact that they sit in one place and don't dust bathe or move as often, so if you get the chance, check on her every so often when she gets up to eat or drink and ensure that she's feeling well.
One more thing: I'm sure you have this part down, but make sure that the eggs have had a chance to be fertilized! If you don't have a rooster, they may never hatch. Also, if the same 8 eggs have been sitting without the hen for a while, it may be a good idea to replace them with fresh ones that are still alive.
Good luck with hatching eggs!
Epiphany
Yes I have a rooster and if she spends the day in the nest tomorrow I will move her to a quiter place and replace the eggs at night because the other 8 are almost 3 weeks old now.

Thank you
 

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