Is my hen depressed?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by OPPT, May 23, 2019.

  1. OPPT

    OPPT In the Brooder

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    I have a little mixed flock; 8 hens (2 rhode Island reds, 4 plymouth barred rocks, one black australorp, one buff orpington) and a rooster we rescued with the name of Dr. Love. Not sure what his breed is, but he's a nice one, and not rough with the hens. Anyway, the buff orpington, who has the super original name of Buffy, has just started spending all her time sitting in a nesting box. She's not on eggs, so I don't think it's that she's broody, but I don't know. Every morning when I feed and water them I let them run around on the lawn. She used to LOVE to do that, but now I have to reach in and pull her out. Then she'll eat and drink a little, but she goes right back in. It's been 2 or 3 weeks now. Any thoughts?
     
  2. azygous

    azygous Crossing the Road

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    Broody. Not depressed. If you have a rooster and wish more chickens, stick some eggs under her. She will take it from there. Twenty-one days from the time you slip the eggs under her, chicks will hatch and she will raise them for you for the next six to ten weeks, depending on how into being a broody mama she is.

    If you don't wish more chickens in your flock, I'll give you the recipe for getting her to come down from her broody hormones and resume her normal life as a laying hen. She won't lay eggs again until she finishes raising her chicks, so keep that in mind while you decide.
     
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  3. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler!

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    These are my go to signs:
    Is she on nest most the day and all night?
    When you pull her out of nest and put her on the ground, does she flatten right back out into a fluffy screeching pancake?
    Does she walk around making a low cluckcluckcluckcluckcluck(ticking bomb) sound on her way back to the nest?
    If so, then she is probably broody and you'll have to decide how to manage it.


    I'd break her broody rather than let her sit another 3 weeks to hatch. Or...you could get some day old chicks and stick them under her after dark.
     
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  4. OPPT

    OPPT In the Brooder

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    Thanks to both of you for responding. Yes she does that flatten pancake thing, so I guess she is broody. I think I'd rather get her out of it at this point because she's already sat for so long. I don't have any day old chicks handy! If it happens again I'll put eggs under her and let her have a go at being a mom. Any thoughts on the procedure to unbroody her?
     
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  5. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler!

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    Yeah, it's a bit past chick season at the farm stores.
    It might take longer to break her since she's been setting so long...but...

    My experience goes about like this: After her setting for 3 days and nights in the nest (or as soon as I know they are broody), I put her in a wire dog crate with smaller wire on the bottom but no bedding, set up on a couple of 4x4's right in the coop or run with feed and water.

    I used to let them out a couple times a day, but now just once a day in the evening(you don't have to) and she would go out into the run, drop a huge turd, race around running, take a vigorous dust bath then head back to the nest... at which point I put her back in the crate. Each time her outings would lengthen a bit, eating, drinking and scratching more and on the 3rd afternoon she stayed out of the nest and went to roost that evening...event over, back to normal tho she didn't lay for another week or two. Or take her out of crate daily very near roosting time(30-60 mins) if she goes to roost great, if she goes to nest put her back in crate.
    Chunk of 2x4 for a 'roost' was added to crate floor after pic was taken.
    upload_2019-5-24_7-49-10.png
     
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  6. Henriettamom919

    Henriettamom919 Songster

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    My Buff Orp did this very same thing whether there were eggs or not so I was confused at first, too! @aart advised me on breaking her and within two days she was broken of the broody trance! I do kind of miss the hilarious noise she made when anyone approached the nesting box, her inner raptor really came out :gig

    Good luck! I'm sure she'll be the Buffy you know and love in no time if you choose to break her! :love
     

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