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Is my hen "broody"?

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by windstarfarm, Dec 26, 2012.

  1. windstarfarm

    windstarfarm Out Of The Brooder

    Ok.... I am a newbie so please excuse my possibly silly questions! I have only had my chickens for about 2 months......I have no roosters. I have 10 hens, various breeds and ages of which I do not know because I inherited my chickens and I think I have some younger and some older ones. I noticed one of the girls has been sitting in the nest box ALOT the last couple of days. I am finding eggs....though none yesterday...and I didn't bother her while she was in the box. Today, she was in the box again. I talked to her and pet her and even picked her up. There was an egg, so I took it. She went right back to setting in her box and she was very docile........ Maybe I shouldn't have taken the egg...but without a rooster, the egg isn't fertile. And if she sat on that egg since yesterday and kept it nice and warm...is it still safe for eating??..........Maybe I shouldn't have touched her....but she wasn't angry at me and actually kind of cooed like a pigeon when I pet her. [​IMG] Help anyone?!?!!
     
  2. gryeyes

    gryeyes Covered in Pet Hair & Feathers

    The egg is quite safe to eat after a day of being kept warm by your hen. Some hens like to take a while in the nest box, and sometimes that may or may not lead to her going broody EVENTUALLY.

    She isn't broody yet. Certainly not if she purred at you (yes, we chicken keepers know that contented purr sound). What you look for is at least two full nights on the nest, only getting off the nest once or maybe twice a day to grab food, excrete a huge ( and nasty-smelling!) poop, drink, maybe take in a quick dust bath, then hurry back to her nest.

    She will also make a growling sound, even peck at you when you reach towards her. They frequently "flatten out" over the eggs, and their eyes get this wild "Don't you DARE!" look.

    Although my broody hens will allow me to check under them for eggs, they do growl at me and dart their heads as if they might peck me, but I attribute that to their being often-handled pets. They trust me.

    Hope this helps.
     
  3. windstarfarm

    windstarfarm Out Of The Brooder

    She certainly didn't seem angry at me all, and actually seemed to enjoy the petting. It was the first time since they came here with me that I was actually able to really touch one of the hens!! She was so soft and I was really happy when she left me hold her! Was I wrong to take the egg?? Maybe I just happened to catch her in the nest box on my trips into the house. Thanks for all your help gryeyes!
     
  4. gryeyes

    gryeyes Covered in Pet Hair & Feathers

    No, you were not wrong in taking her egg - especially since you don't have a rooster to fertilize 'em.

    With that said, I have to admit I don't usually bother hens on nests; I just come back later to get egg(s) from that nest. But that's because I have roosters and let my broody girls set as they desire. I DO remove newer eggs other hens lay in the same nest after a particular hen starts setting. (I mark the eggs I want to let her hatch and I will reach under to make sure there aren't any newer eggs there. If there are more than those, I'll pull out eggs and take any which I haven't marked.). That way the hen doesn't have to deal with eggs scheduled to hatch later... You want tO have them all hatch
     
  5. gryeyes

    gryeyes Covered in Pet Hair & Feathers

    Whoops, bumped enter too soon. Anyway, eggs need 21 days to incubate, so you don't want eggs laid a week or two later in the broody hen's nest to get started incubating because the mama hen may either stay on the nest to hatch them instead of caring for her newly hatched chicks OR "waste" eggs when she does take her chicks out of the nest and the unhatched eggs still need to be incubated longer.

    The majority of hens do NOT "set" or go broody; they just lay their eggs and go on their merry ways. Some hens just like to hang out in a nest for a while.
     
  6. windstarfarm

    windstarfarm Out Of The Brooder

    Thanks for the info gryeyes!! I have lots to learn and today I was rewarded for my efforts by my Sophie letting me hold her!! Thanks for taking the time to help me! Have a great New Year!!
     
  7. AshleyMarie17

    AshleyMarie17 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 23, 2015
    Southern Alabama
    My buff orpington kind of growled and snapped at me when I checked to see if anyone was in the laying box. So I figured maybe she was broody but only had one egg under her. She sits in the box for a few hours when she lays, won't let the other girls lay there, and then finally comes out and stays out. (That's when I get the eggs). There's usually only 1-3 under there. If I leave the eggs will she stay and hatch them? We have two roosters and would love a hatch of orpingtons! It's driving me crazy not knowing if I should leave the eggs or if I should keep stealing them to eat lol also, I watched her steal her sisters egg. But she spends so much time away from the box that I'm afraid it'll just be a waste of eggs. She certainly spends more time in there than anyone else though. I'm so inexperienced and frustrated. Please help!
     
  8. thelionsage

    thelionsage New Egg

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    Aug 20, 2013
    MD
    It's probably just a waste of eggs. We had a recent broody conundrum and it hurts to see a plan fail.
     

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