may be silly, but...if you have a mating pair...

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by kellieetal, Aug 9, 2013.

  1. kellieetal

    kellieetal Out Of The Brooder

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    If I have a rooster and hen pair, then whatever eggs she lays will have a good chance of having been fertilized, assuming the pair is on good terms with each other. But, just because she lays fertile eggs, doesn't mean she'll have any interest in hatching them, right? Wouldn't a nest full enough of eggs eventually stroke the motherly instinct of the hen? I've heard of ways to break a broody hen out of her motherly mood, but I've never heard of ways to encourage or even induce broodiness? I have an opportunity to take a pair of penedesenca's, which I HAVE been wanting for a while now. I wouldn't mind keeping the hen and letting her raise just one hatching of babies, and getting rid of the father (preferrably passing him on to someone who wants him, or else dispatching him if no one else wanted him) once the hen decides to sit on her eggs. Roos aren't illegal in my neighborhood, but I know at least one of my neighbors (who is also a good friend) is NOT NOT NOT fond of incessant crowing. I'd really love to get to raise the chicks and pass on pairs to interested local chicken owners as the roos come of age. It seems they're not an easy to find breed in my area. I'd also really like swedish flower hens, but that's probably just wishful thinking. :) So...anyone know of anything that seems to indude or at least encourage a non-broody hen to sit? Or is my best option to also buy a hen of a breed that readily goes broody and use her as a surrogate mommy?
     
  2. kellieetal

    kellieetal Out Of The Brooder

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    #spellcheck! lol I meant "induce" not "indude." :D
     
  3. BoiseChik

    BoiseChik Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I want to hear the answers to this too. I want to try and breed just a pair or Americanas out of a large mixed flock. :-]
     
  4. Lady of McCamley

    Lady of McCamley Overrun With Chickens

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    While you can't force a hen to go broody, you can certainly encourage a "broody-type" to brood. Some breeds definitely are better for going broody than others; and it may be worth your while to get a Silkie or Cochin to be a surrogate. If you decide to go that route, I recommend purchasing a proven brooder as it is actually more the hen than just the breed. I've had commercial grade hybrids which are not supposed to go broody become good brooders, and I've had a friend whose Silkie never broods...it is the luck of the genes...however Silkies and Cochins have more of those gene types within the breed so it greatly improves your chances.

    However, in my opinion, if you are willing to make the attempt, it is worth the try to see if your Penedesenca hen will brood for you....although be forewarned, Henderson's Chicken Chart lists them as a "non-setter" so she isn't likely to be an easy brooder....but (see paragraph above)...

    First, leave some eggs or golf balls in a nest box that she likes to use, preferably the place you'll like her to brood so you don't have to move her (see below for best nesting area). Let her begin to collect her eggs and do not discourage her from wanting to sit on them, ever. If she will do that, it is a good sign. She'll need a number of eggs under her to put pressure on the spot on her breast bone that triggers her to set. I NEVER discourage my broodies from sitting on eggs. I simply gather around them replacing with golf balls if I don't want a hatch...I only take them off a nest (gently...to encourage them to eat and drink) if they have been brooding too long, over 5 weeks. Once you begin to see her willing to linger on them, especially if she is snotty at your presence in fear you'll take the eggs, proceed to the next step below.

    She'll need a fluffy nest in a nice quiet, dark corner away from other birds and noises and wet drafts. I recommend getting timothy hay or very soft straw. Pine shavings can be placed below it for absorbency and smell, but hens need to roll the eggs and rearrange them for good incubation growth. Pine shavings kick aside too much letting eggs crack on hard flooring of the broody hutch. It also should be in a warm place...not too hot...but definitely warmer as the hen's body temperature must be slightly elevated to trigger the brooding hormone. If she is not there already, place her in it with her eggs and food and water. She should only have room to get up, stretch her legs, and get a drink of water and snatch of food. (Many people use a dog crate, I have a rabbit type hutch. If you have been letting her nest freely, now is the time to close the door.)

    Then cross your fingers. You'll be able to tell by her behavior if she is getting in the mood or merely annoyed. The worse that will happen is you will have a grumpy hen...and no eggs hatched. If she gets really distressed with the isolation (loudly squawking, pacing back and forth to get out, starting to peck at the eggs), let her out and try again when she begins to first collect and sit on eggs again.

    ....or get a proven Silkie or Cochin and your worries are over. I found my through the BYC swap forum. My Silkie grows broody at the drop of the hat..and yes, I've encouraged her to go broody when I needed a hatch....but be forewarned...hens go broody when and where they want...they generally never pick the spot you want. I've even partitioned around them in the coop to not discourage a new beginning broody. [​IMG]

    Good luck,
    Lady of McCamley
     
  5. Vicky2479

    Vicky2479 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I don't think there is a tried and true way, some breeds are renowned for their broodiness like silkies, Orpingtons and some of the game breeds and within each breed you will find some who are so desperate to be mommas they will sit on anything resembling a nest and egg as often as possible and others that want no part of that kind of commitment but I think your average hen will do so in their own sweet time.
    If it is still spring or early summer where you are you could try getting afew false eggs and leaving them in a nest box and see what happens but it will depend entirely on the hen and her hormones I am afraid and if it is winter then nothing will happen till spring anyway I don't think, someone please jump in and correct me if I am wrong but I know my broody hens haven't even laid eggs over winter let alone tried to sit.
    On another note if you have an incubator then you could collect the fertile eggs and hatch them your self.
     
  6. Lady of McCamley

    Lady of McCamley Overrun With Chickens

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    My Silkie pretty much will brood year round. This year alone, I set eggs under her in mid-January and hatched early February and again mid-May to hatch early June. I was hesitant to set in January for chicks as I thought it would be too cold, or so I thought. but the hatchlings did just fine in the freezing weather (our NW gets about 32 degrees at night to a high of about 42 degrees). They were running around with mom within the week. I tried to foster some feed store chicks with her on that hatch, as I wanted more, but they weren't hardy enough and I lost all of those due to the cold...already spoiled??? from heat lamp treatment....however, her mutt hatchlings never batted an eye and thrived into now early laying hens.

    I've had a couple of other hens go broody too in late fall and late winter.. although the greatest number at a time was in April/May. It may be that I'm in the Northwest so we don't get weeks of brutal cold winter....just days and days of grey drizzle...year round....maybe they just don't know when summer actually is???? (Half the time we don't either) [​IMG]

    I imagine where you live makes a difference.
    Lady of McCamley
     
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2013

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