Looks like i have a Broody!

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by Ma Noob, Nov 13, 2011.

  1. Ma Noob

    Ma Noob Chillin' With My Peeps

    128
    0
    99
    Sep 3, 2010
    South Australia
    Having had a very busy week and hardly being at home, i have been a bit slack on the egg collecting side of things. So i go out the back today to find one of the hens missing, only to spot her in their house in the crate that i have for them to lay in sat down. I thought she might be laying, but i went back about 3 hours later and she is still there, despite the others heading to bed.

    So i go back later again when its dark and the other are tucked up in bed and she is still sat there. So im guessing she is broody and thats where she is going to stay for the next few weeks.

    Now i have a few dilemas. 1st is there is a few eggs around the outside of the crate, either where others have layed or where they have fallen out. Am i ok to collect these and will i disturb her by doing so? Or am i better just leaving them

    2) Im guessing I shoudl get her some food and water and leave it in the house with her, im going to get another water feeder tomorrow or tuesday (probably tomorrow)

    3) should i separate her from the rest of them? can i move her if need be?

    4) when the little ones are born, should i separate her and the little ones? I have a cocky cage that i have my silkies in that is well protected from cats, i would just have to find somewhere else for my silkies. Or will they be all right in with the rest of the flock, Might just have to lock them up of a night time though, then I would take the crate out and fill the house up with straw

    5) any other advice is more than welcome!! IM incubating 11 eggs at the moment too so my numbers are going to jump!!
     
  2. Barred Babies

    Barred Babies Red Roof Farms

    10,510
    14
    281
    Sep 20, 2009
    Pride, La.
    It's all a matter of opinion on how you proceed.

    When I decided that one is definetly broody after a few days and decided to let her hatch some, I remove her from the coop and place her in a seperate section. I've found that sometimes this in itself will break their broodiness. If all goes okay with the move I make sure she has water and food right close by where she's nesting. If I find that she's one to rarely get up and take a break I will go out there and remove her at least once a day so she can go potty. Other than that it's just a long 21 days.... [​IMG]

    Good luck, hope she does well!! [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Nov 13, 2011
  3. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

    20,143
    3,357
    496
    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    My rule is that if she spends two nights in a row on the nest, she is broody. All that other stuff is a good indication, but her spending nights on the nest is the clincher for me.

    Now i have a few dilemas. 1st is there is a few eggs around the outside of the crate, either where others have layed or where they have fallen out. Am i ok to collect these and will i disturb her by doing so? Or am i better just leaving them

    You need to mark the eggs you want her to hatch and remove the others. And check under her daily to remove any new eggs. I just draw a couple of circles on the egg with a Sharpie so I can instantly see which ones don't belong. She needs to be able to cover all the eggs she has. Otherwise, the outside eggs can cool off and die. After a while, that dead egg gets pulled back under her and another good egg gets pushed out to die. Even if the egg does not cool off enough for the chick inside to die, the egg can cool off so that hatching is delayed enough that she abandons the nest before all the eggs hatch. A broody will almost always take living chicks off to find food and water instead of letting the live ones die from thirst and starvation waiting on the late eggs.

    That's the other reason you need to remove the eggs that are laid late. The late ones will not have time to hatch before she abandons the nest.

    As a minimum, you need to get the eggs down to where she can cover them all, mark them, and check daily for new ones. I don't know how long she has been broody or how many of the eggs are too new to have much chance of hatching. If there were much confusion, I'd probably toss them all and give her a new set of marked eggs to hatch so they all started at the same time. I know how precious a regular egg usually becomes once it has started incubation, but I'd probably still do this.

    With the incubator you may have another option or two. If the timing works out with your incubator, you could put her unhatched eggs in there in lockdown conditions after she abandons the nest and see if any hatch. Maybe they will be close enough that she will accept them, but you may wind up having to raise them in a brooder.

    Another possible option. If you have time and room, you can take enough of the eggs from her that she can still cover the rest and put those in the incubator. After a week or so, you can try candling all her eggs and the ones you put in the incubator and see if you can tell which ones are developing together, and try to give her a buch of eggs that should hatch at the same time.

    I think you have another option. You could put all her eggs in the incubator and give her the 11 you now have in the incubator. Those 11 should all hatch at the same time and she should be able to cover them all so that problem is solved. You won't know exactly when is lockdown, but you can muddle through and probably get a lot of those eggs to hatch in the incubator.

    2) Im guessing I should get her some food and water and leave it in the house with her, im going to get another water feeder tomorrow or tuesday (probably tomorrow)

    If she has access to food and water, she should get up once of twice a day to go eat, drink. and go poop, so you probably don't need to give her any extra just for her. But it will not hurt.

    3) should i separate her from the rest of them? can i move her if need be?

    Hens have been hatching and raising chicks with the flock for thousands of year. Sometimes bad things happen, but often they don't. Sometimes bad things happen when you separate them from the flock. There are good legitimate reasons to separate the hen if you want to, but I don't. Occasionally things happen, but usually it goes well. The biggest risk if you move her is that she stops being broody. If you move her at night, have a set-up where her new nest is kind of dark, and lock her in there so cannot leave to go back to her old nest, your odds of her not breaking from being broody are pretty good, but they are not zero.

    4) when the little ones are born, should i separate her and the little ones? I have a cocky cage that i have my silkies in that is well protected from cats, i would just have to find somewhere else for my silkies. Or will they be all right in with the rest of the flock, Might just have to lock them up of a night time though, then I would take the crate out and fill the house up with straw

    Again, broodies have been hatching and raising chicks with the flock for thousands of years. Sometimes bad things happen, but often they don't. Usually the chicks will be fine as long as they are not separated from Mama where she cannot protect them. Usually the other adult chickens do not go out of their way to try to harm the chicks, but occasionally you get one that will. Usually, Mama has such a bad attitude about that the other adult quickly learns she really should not be doing that. Usually. If she raises them separated from the flock, you have to go through an integration later. If she raises them with the flock, they are already integrated. They'll still have the pecking order issues to deal with but at least basic integration will be taken care of.

    I can't tell you which is the right way to go for you, other than reduce the number of eggs she has so she can cover them all. We do things differently and often have success, but occasionally we have serious problems, no matter which method we choose.

    Good luck!!!
     
  4. abbylane35

    abbylane35 Chillin' With My Peeps

    113
    2
    81
    Nov 13, 2011
    Lodi, New York
    This broodiness must be in the air, because I have two broody hens. One has ONE egg under her (and has for a week) and the other has NO eggs...maybe she's just trying to keep warm:) I am just letting them do what they need to do. It's going to be a long winter...I guess they need something to do?! Good luck with your broody hens!
     
  5. triplepurpose

    triplepurpose Chillin' With My Peeps

    973
    157
    188
    Oct 13, 2008
    Ridgerunner gives some fabulous advice. I'll just add a couple more things based on my own experience.

    I never try to move the broody hen, because it never worked for me. What I had the most success with, was using a piece of chicken wire to fabricate a simple enclosure AROUND the nest box in situ in the henhouse. I give her fake eggs at first till she's settled. Once I'm sure she's broody (stayin on the nest through the night is a pretty sure sign--I may also see her turning the fake eggs with her beak and arranging them under her, which is also a very sure sign--as a opposed to just passively squatting on the eggs, without bothering to arrange them, which could be a sign of a broody who's trying, but doesn't quite have the skills to pull it off), I put the eggs I have selected to hatch under her (it doesn't matter if they are her own or other hens--or even other species, within reason, size-wise, of course--but I don't like to put more than a dozen at a time, because if she can't cover them all properly at once in may kill all of them as she rotates them). Into her little enclosure I put some food and water just for her. She and the other chickens can see each other through the wire, and everyone behaves normally, except that the other hens can't get into her nesting space to harrass her or the eggs or chicks and cause confusion (like laying their own eggs in the nest where she's trying to set, etc.). And she has food and water right there whenever she decides she needs to get off the nest (I don't feed the flock free choice). then I mark the calendar. When the chicks start hatching, I block the entrance to the nest if necessary in some way just so that the chicks won't fall out of the nest. Once the chicks are all hatched and dried, I move them all right away to a separate enclosure with their own food and water (but adjacent to the regular coop, where they can see each other through the fence, and the chicks and mother sleep at night in a special, rat-proof safe-box I built for that purpose. Once they are about 6 weeks old or so, I integrate, and from then on they are just part of the greater flock.

    I've always had great results this way. Like Ridgerunner says, it all depends on circumstances and different ways work for different people, but hopefully this helps. It's actually not as complicated as it sounds, and it's normally a lot easier than an incubator and brooder.

    Best of luck!
     
    Last edited: Nov 13, 2011
  6. Ma Noob

    Ma Noob Chillin' With My Peeps

    128
    0
    99
    Sep 3, 2010
    South Australia
    thanks guys, she was off this morning but im guessing it was her back on again when i got home from dropping the kids off at school. It has been quite warm her in the last few days so hopefully all the eggs are at a similar stage. I will be home tomorrow so i might try and let the chooks out so i can get into the house and get the eggs out from around her, It looks like all that she is sitting on is fitting under her ok. I dont want to go near when Clarence the rooster is in the house as i think he knows she is broody, He hops on top of the house every time im near the side. I think he is protecting her.

    I can put a board up so the little chicks dont fall out, I will do that a little closer to time. I wont move her, as i really dont have anywhere else to move her at this stage. I have silkies in another cage, but they are all roos, adn i dont think they will go too well in the main house. I might see if I can get some shade cloth to put along the lower part of the fence around the chook house to keep the little ones in, but i will wait and see a little bit first.

    Ive got chooks in the incubator due on the 25th, i think i will just keep it running after that just incase i need to put them in there. But at least i have a backup in the mean time. She must have hopped up for food and things this morning so im happy about that.

    Well i think i will leave her to it and see how we go. But i will get those other eggs out tomorrow when i can let them out and get to them safely. There is a spot down the side of the house that they like to lay, so the other girls will just have to lay there for the next few weeks

    Cheers all!!
     
  7. Ma Noob

    Ma Noob Chillin' With My Peeps

    128
    0
    99
    Sep 3, 2010
    South Australia
    i cleared out all the eggs from around outside of the crate today. as quitely as i could. However, the dog choose it as a very fine time to stir up the chooks somethign shocking but she stayed put. when i looked again after to see if she was still settled i saw another egg,

    not sure if i had missed one or if she had booted it out, i tried to slip it under her butt. She tried to peck it at first so i slipped it further back. She has been getting up in the morning for a feed, so i will try and see how many she is sitting on tomorrow cause i have no idea.

    Going to make some plans to keep them all together when they are born, my biggest worry is cats, but with the big rooster, i dont know that they would get in anymore
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by