Must a hen lay eggs to go broody?

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by they'reHISchickens, Oct 30, 2009.

  1. they'reHISchickens

    they'reHISchickens Songster

    Oct 31, 2008
    How many people have had a hen go broody even though she wasn't currently laying?

    Our girls are in the middle/end of molting, and one who hasn't produced an egg in a few weeks now wants to claim the golf balls in the nest. November isn't a great time for chicks but if she's serious, I may consider it and purchase some eggs.
    She's an EE and had thought about hatching earlier this year but was never really serious( left the nest when forcibly removed rather than returning, clamping down and setting.) Is she hormonally challenged?

  2. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude Premium Member

    If the pullet goes back to the roost every night, she is not yet broody, though she may have those tendencies. As to what's in a chicken's little brain, who knows? I dont know if a hen not currently laying will go broody, but anything is possible, I guess.
  3. they'reHISchickens

    they'reHISchickens Songster

    Oct 31, 2008
    She isn't going to roost- she's staying on the nest at the moment. But I had assumed that she needed to be laying to provide a nest of eggs before the nesting hormones kicked in. I am almost positive that she isn't laying anywhere.
  4. Elite Silkies

    Elite Silkies Crowing

    Jun 17, 2009
    My Coop
    My Silkie didn't have to have any eggs and she went broody. But she is at laying age. So, that might make a difference.
  5. austinhart123

    austinhart123 Songster

    Mar 12, 2008
    Los Angeles CA
    Anything is possible in the chicken world, although it's not common they can go broody without laying, you will have to decide weather to give her eggs or not and risk her giving up since its late in the season.
  6. Akane

    Akane Crowing

    Jun 15, 2008
    They probably don't need to be currently laying eggs so long as they have matured and laid eggs already so the hormones are all there. If she's getting off the nest when disturbed and not immediately settling back down though then she's not broody enough to sit and hatch chicks. I've had several pullets that seemed unable to make up their minds. They'll sit on the nest alot but get off fairly easily and don't act truly broody. They give it up after a week when their hormones settle down from starting to lay. Some like to sleep on nests or the ground more than roosts so that's not really an indication by itself. It is a big clue when a normally roosting hen decides to sleep on a nest at night. When you have a truly broody hen though you know it. You wouldn't be here asking. If you question whether she's broody then even if someone would consider the hen broody I highly doubt she'd be serious enough to really stick with the eggs the whole time. You'll be hatching them in the incubator.
  7. they'reHISchickens

    they'reHISchickens Songster

    Oct 31, 2008
    I got my answer this morning.
    Poor girl dropped all her feathers in a molt during the night. I wonder if she was cold and wanted to snuggle in the hay of the nest. My 5 hens and roo have been in various stages of molt for 2 months, but this one REALLY suddenly dropped feathers. She looks simply AWFUL.
    When I released them out of the pen this morning, the roo chased her all over the yard to mount her, too. Poor thing.
    Akane, this one was on the nest instead of the roost... and she has been iffy on the broodiness before. She will have to convince me before she ever gets eggs.
    I just wanted feedback if some people do get a broody when the hen isn't even laying. It seems to me that hormonally, it wouldn't work.

  8. neferset

    neferset Songster

    Aug 23, 2009
    Western North Carolina
    The closest I've ever had was a young pullet who would adopt chicks. Eggs, she wasn't really interested in.
  9. dancingbear

    dancingbear Songster

    Aug 2, 2008
    South Central KY
    When a hen goes broody, she stops laying. I've seen them do that even when they weren't fully committed. A few never really fully settle, but will repeatedly go through "false starts". I think you're right not to give her any eggs unless she does go full-on-fanatical broody.
  10. mulia24

    mulia24 Songster

    all hen i saw broody and hatch egg have been lay before. that's what i see. but, who knows?

    if only she can talk in human language we can ask her for full detail. [​IMG]

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