more questions about breaking broody hens

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Trishkabob, Oct 7, 2012.

  1. Trishkabob

    Trishkabob Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oct 30, 2010
    Schuylerville, NY
    We have a JG (Eloise) who suddenly went broody a few days ago and I have been reading about how to break her of it. we have been chasing her out of the nestbox regularly and hoped to catch it early (started about 4 days ago and we noticed it right away; Storey's Guide says even that can mean the difference between an easy and a hard breaking). Now she goes to the roost instead of the nestbox but I'm guessing that is no better?
    I guess we can isolate her in a wire cage-clearly the prevailing wisdom-but she has crooked toes and since I cringe at doing this in the first place I wonder if this would be especially hard on/for her?
    We have only 3 girls and she is usually the middle one of the pecking order. In addition to her seeming unhappiness, it seems she is getting pecked more, and more aggressively, by our queen bee, than usual. Is this common for a broody hen?
    Also, the other 2 have not laid since Eloise went broody. Coincidence?
    If anyone has suggestions, either about the cage method or some other approach, we would welcome it. Clearly, they are pets as much as egg providers and while we miss the eggs we want her back to her normal, happy self.
    thanks.
     
  2. moomoodiddy

    moomoodiddy Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Union County, NC
    Aw man unwanted broodiness just had to break one today from some dud eggs that were about to explode and later on she charged at me when i went to the same "empty "nest box hmmmmmmmm...... id say wire cage with some realy small hardware cloth as for the pecking order hmmmmm.... if u only have 3 hens maybe get some more or get some interesting objects for them: hanging veggies just something to get their mind off of it...boredom???? good luck
     
  3. Trishkabob

    Trishkabob Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oct 30, 2010
    Schuylerville, NY
    thanks, moomoodiddy. Late yesterday afternoon (sat. - helped that we were both home and on the alert) every half hour we went out and pulled her off the roost. Finally, when I got her out I carried her around (she loves being around us but hates being picked up) for about 15 min. She struggled and yelled at me but I had her in a tight, gentle, bear hug. Had to do it twice and each time I waited until she relaxed and then released her with the other two. First time she hung with them briefly and broke off back to the henhouse. Second time I had to head her off and prevent her from getting back there. Then it was getting dark so we had to let her in to roost but this morning we coaxed her out with treats and so far......so good. She was almost leading the pack around the yard. I am going to keep going out with stuff she loves (squash seeds, yogurt...) to remind her how good the "free life" is....
    fingers crossed.
     
  4. moomoodiddy

    moomoodiddy Chillin' With My Peeps

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    WESOME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
     
  5. Trishkabob

    Trishkabob Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oct 30, 2010
    Schuylerville, NY
    aarrgghh. I spoke too soon. five times she had fo be lifted out of the nestbox today...my husband works at home and can see the coop from the window. Yesterday we closed the henhouse doors altogether (other 2 are starting to molt so laying not happening right now and they still have access to their food and water). I hope that doesn't have unforseen consequences but my husband took the roost out of the henhouse first and she just went back to the nestbox. Curses! Foiled again (who says chickens aren't smart? at least they are stubborn! and strong....it's like wrestling with an eagle)
    Soooo, the wire cage may be in the wings after all.
    Any thoughts about whether a girl with crooked toes would suffer in a wire cage? Ugh.

    Another thought/question- what would happen if we left her alone? Would she wither?
     
  6. moomoodiddy

    moomoodiddy Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Union County, NC
    u may have to get some ....or make some splints for her toes (hey messin around with tryin to get them off may kepp her mind off of things) and whither? oh and u may could buy her a couple of chicks to adopt?
     
  7. Pullet Surprise

    Pullet Surprise Chillin' With My Peeps

    I have one hen that has gone broody on me three times this year. I have found that even the littlest time she gets to a nest, the longer it takes to break her. I use a wire dog crate in a secure run until the other girls are finished laying for the day, close the pop door and let Ms Broody out to do free ranging etc. She sleeps in the broody buster at night as well. This last time I had to use the cage for separating out a rooster...so was juggling chickens and Ms. Broody got to the nests more ....so it took a lot longer to break her. She also dropped some weight (which is now back on her). I do believe it is hard on them and with winter coming, I really didn't want her not in good condition. She's fine now. If you put the cage on the ground, I don't think it would aggrivate her toes, also rig up a roost bar in it for her. But if you want it over and done with, she should not even see, think, or smell nest, even if she doesn't get to roost with the rest for a couple of nights. The day you let her out and she doesn't show any interest in going in the coop and nest, that's when you are free and clear. the more time she spends out doing chicken things the quicker she will forget. This time mine was so bad due to the inability to keep her completely away from the nests off and on that when she was out, she was flying up onto the back of the nest box outside and trying to get in that way. STUBORN!!!! With mine, it's all or nothing. But yes, she wasn't eating as she should have been and it started to show. She just had too much time on the nest this time. Never again.
     
  8. Trishkabob

    Trishkabob Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oct 30, 2010
    Schuylerville, NY
    yeah. I'm afraid we are looking at wire cage jail...it is starting to get cold here, near the Adirondacks, and we don't want her losing weight. Since the others are slowing down their laying (one is molting and not laying at all) we may be able to close off the henhouse more often.
    maybe we could keep the other 2 in the pen with access to the coopnestbox during the day and lock Eloise out of the coop/pen altogether. Force her to be outside. I worry about her being solo but she will likely stick close.....then cage her at night inside the pen but not the henhouse? Or, we could put her in the cage in our screened-in porch. She 'd be safe there....
    How long do you think it might take, roughly? 2 days? Longer? She is a sweetie and I want to get this over with. With her crooked toes, I could make a splint as moomoodiddy suggests (no chicks this time of year though I like the suggestion. Too hard logistically/henhouse size-wise, etc) or put the cage on the ground, but isn't the idea to eliminate any way for her to lie down/get comfy?
     
  9. Pullet Surprise

    Pullet Surprise Chillin' With My Peeps

    It took about three days the first two times with mine,(caught it right off the bat then) this last time it took two days AFTER we got serious and got through fooling around, half baked, for almost a week ...
    She'll be fine in the cage where ever you put her at night as long as she is safe in the cage and not exposed to preditors who can get their grubby
    paws/hands through the cage. Screen porch sounds good if it's good and secure...or the pen if it is VERY secure. Each hen is different as to how
    long before they give it up.They are pretty darned hardy too as far as the cold goes. I think it's harder on their keepers until you see first hand that they will
    survive just fine. If you can let the other girls out with her as much as possible during the day it helps her be "normal". With mine, they would be screaming at the gate
    to get in and lay when they needed to (sort of like tap dancing while waiting for someone to get out of the bathroom when ya' REALLY gotta' go ) if they were locked out with the broody.
     
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2012

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