my first broody - am I doing this right??? very long winded............

New Chicken Lad

In the Brooder
7 Years
Sep 16, 2012
64
8
33
Northern New Jersey
Hi Everyone!!!

I'm relatively new to the backyard chicken thing (about 7 months now) and until 3 days ago, everything was going perfectly. Four beautiful girls, 3 buff orps and one speckled Sussex. I researched and read everything I possibly could (on this site) in preparation for my girls. I kinda glazed over the information about 'broody hens' cause I clearly had a 'brain fart' and thought it only applied to hens that were around roosters. Yeah, I know you know where I'm going with this!!!!

So, this past Saturday, I noticed lots of little fluffy feathers in the hen house part of the coop (where the nesting boxes are), said something about it to my husband, but we both thought nothing of it. The girls were behaving exactly the same as always, we get just about 2 dozen eggs a week, so whatever. Then on Sunday, we were in the fenced-in chicken play pen area (about 40' x 20') planting new shrubs and flowers (for the girls enjoyment) as well as loosening up some soil so the worms would come out (oh my speckled Sussex thought she was in worm heaven!) putting down dust bath mixtures, laying down some grazing frames, etc. I noticed Mama Trouble wasn't out enjoying the day. I find her in the hen house, in the nest box everyone lays in. I talked to her through the window, she was facing the opposite direction and she had no reaction at all when I spoke to her (this was really odd). I went to the other side of the coop, opened the egg door where she was sitting and facing and she looked like she was in a trance. I freaked out thinking something was wrong... After my mini panic attack, I went and got some meal worms (favorite treat as we all know), this broke her trance, she hopped out (she had 4 eggs under her, one from each of them), ate worms with the other girls then they all went about checking out the new stuff and had some super fun in their dustbath area in the sunshine. All seemed well but I still didn't realize what was going on.

Monday, she comes out of the coop with the others when my husband opened them up for the day, ate drank pooped, whatever, then back in the hen house she goes. Now I'm thinking something something is going on... I thought, could she be going broody??? How can this happen, no rooster riding her, no fertilization, what the hell????? To the computer, backyardchickens.com here I come. Yup, she's gone broody!!!! I thought to myself, Oh Crap, I didn't sign up for this. I do not want to breed and raise chickens, I just wanted 4 outside pets that would give me food and smiles. Anyway, I left her in the nest box in the hen house, but I opened the egg door to take away her privacy cause the other girls would jump in and out and bother her, I somehow thought this was good. She did come out for mealworms, but then bolted back to the nest box when done. She stayed there, the other girls went in and did there duty in the other nest box, then later when the husband came home from work we found her in the other nest box sitting on 3 eggs (the other hens eggs, she didn't lay that day)... Husband reached under her, got the eggs, she growled a little bit but that was it. OK, research says she needs to be in 'chicken jail'... ugghhhh. Husband is ordered to go to Petco on the way home from work the next day to get a metal dog crate.

Tuesday, she comes out in morning all normal like, eats drinks poops, back to the nest box. I go out mid morning open the egg door and try to lure her out with mealworms, raisins, popcorn. Nothing, she wasn't coming out (I'm afraid to pick her up) so I left her there, again with egg door left open. Husband comes home with a freakin $70 dog crate (was gonna kill him) but he says, well I got the better one cause I figure we'll be needing it again, ugghhh, didn't want to think about that. He picks her up, she had one egg under her and it absolutely was hers (I know who's egg is who's?!). The other girls didn't lay that day --- odd odd odd... In the crate she goes, still in her sitting position. We thought we should put her in the garage away from everyone, OMG, once my husband picked up the crate and began walking to the garage, the noises and sounds coming from her sounded like the exorcist movie, even a little like a hurt barking dog---it was incredible. We get her in the garage and she is freakin screaming and howling and again I swear she was barking -> then she starts flapping her wings and trying to jump up as to take off in flight. Again, this is a dog crate, her head was able to get thru the top to like her shoulders(?) she was gonna decapitate herself or hang herself...Ugh, back outside she went still in the crate. She cackled a whole new language for a while but calmed down, the other girls had a look on their face of "what the hell is going on"?!

We gave her a bowl of chicken feed with some scratch and puffed rice cereal and a bowl of water... She ate, drank, pooped, ruffled her feathers and picked & preened herself (this made me very happy). Left her in the cage overnight by putting the cage in the run area of the coop...The other girls went about their normal sleeping routing, we checked on Mama Trouble around 10:00pm and she was sleeping in the crate. Wednesday, in the hopes we broke her broodiness in 12 hours (yeah right) husband let her out of the cage in the morning, she came out with the others and did all the morning normal things, then yup right back to the hen house to the nest box. He wrestles her out and back in the cage she goes. He puts the cage outside of the coop within the fenced in free range area in the shade..

So in my title I ask Am I doing this right??? I ask because she seems to be perfectly content in the cage. When I went out mid morning to give the grapes, she stood up in the cage and addressed me with a low grumbled cackle, I put grapes in her bowl and she ate them no problem... I've seen her preening herself and standing several different times today. The other girls have all layed their eggs today, nothing from Mama Trouble yet. I thought they didn't lay when they were broody?? Did I maybe catch her early???
My fingers hurt from typing this novel. I apologize in advance. Any thoughts and advice would be most appreciated..
p.s. I'm NEW CHICKEN LADY (not LAD)... Helen :)
 

JackE

Crowing
Apr 26, 2010
2,327
756
281
North Eastern Md.
Sound like you are on the right track. But, the cage (Broody Buster) you are using. Does it have a wire bottom? It HAS to have a wire bottom, so cool air will get under the hen. If it does have a wire bottom, Are you getting the cage up off the ground? You have to elevate the cage, so again, cool air gets under the hen. Usually with my broodys, I have two BOs that go broody, I have them in the cage a minimum of three days. One day is never enough. You can put a small cup of feed in there, along with water. They have to have water.
They are funny when they go broody, with that trance like stare. One of mine will bite and raise he!!, when you go to move her off the nest. I have to wear gloves. The other growls a bit, but doesn't bite or anything. I'll pull her out of there and set her on the floor, and she'll just kind of fall over, like a robot or something.
So anyway, just leave her in the cage for three days. If that doesn't get her past it, put her in there a coupla days more. You are really doing her a favor by helping her get past this. Especially if she is not going to be raising chicks. They don't eat or drink properly, and it's just a stressful event for them.
Jack
 

Judy

Crowing
Premium Feather Member
10 Years
Feb 5, 2009
34,024
579
448
South Georgia
They NORMALLY don't lay when they're broody. But -- they also collect a "clutch" (bunch) of eggs to hatch, and then start setting on them to hatch them. Maybe she was still working on her clutch.

You didn't mention whether the broody cage was propped up so there is air flow below it and on her breast (or else I missed it) but this is the idea. The cooler air is supposed to break them, since setting on eggs builds up some heat between the hen's "belly" and the eggs. The one time I did thid, I set the cage on 4 concrete blocks. I have also heard of moving them to a concrete floor area with no ha or other bedding. I guess the concrete is cool enough to do the same thing.

It's not a problem if she is content in the cage, though it probably does mean she is still broody. some people leave them til the start laying agin, others til they start getting restless and lose that "trance" state.

Picking up a broody really isn't a big deal. I do it all the time. I have 3 I'm picking up at least daily now. Just hold them toward the back of their body where they can't reach you so easily. Or, wear some winter gloves. I don't fool with the cage, I just pick them up several times a day and prod them til they eat, etc. -- move around like a normal chicken. It doesn't work very well in breaking them, at least not for all of them (I have 3 at the moment) but at least it gets a little more food and water into them, and exercises their muscles.
 

New Chicken Lad

In the Brooder
7 Years
Sep 16, 2012
64
8
33
Northern New Jersey
Sound like you are on the right track. But, the cage (Broody Buster) you are using. Does it have a wire bottom? It HAS to have a wire bottom, so cool air will get under the hen. If it does have a wire bottom, Are you getting the cage up off the ground? You have to elevate the cage, so again, cool air gets under the hen. Usually with my broodys, I have two BOs that go broody, I have them in the cage a minimum of three days. One day is never enough. You can put a small cup of feed in there, along with water. They have to have water.
They are funny when they go broody, with that trance like stare. One of mine will bite and raise he!!, when you go to move her off the nest. I have to wear gloves. The other growls a bit, but doesn't bite or anything. I'll pull her out of there and set her on the floor, and she'll just kind of fall over, like a robot or something.
So anyway, just leave her in the cage for three days. If that doesn't get her past it, put her in there a coupla days more. You are really doing her a favor by helping her get past this. Especially if she is not going to be raising chicks. They don't eat or drink properly, and it's just a stressful event for them.
Jack
Thanks for your reply Jack.
We lined the bottom of the cage (it is a wire dog cage) with hardware cloth so she wouldn't get her feet stuck. It's elevated about 3 1/2 inches (on 2 x 4's) in the shade, it's 65 degrees now with an easterly wind at about 9 mph. She has water and feed and as I said ate her grapes too. OK, 3days it is... She just seems content and that kinds bothers me... Little witch... I'm gonna go take her picture and post her as 'chickens most wanted'... hahaha, I slay myself :)
Helen
 

New Chicken Lad

In the Brooder
7 Years
Sep 16, 2012
64
8
33
Northern New Jersey
They NORMALLY don't lay when they're broody. But -- they also collect a "clutch" (bunch) of eggs to hatch, and then start setting on them to hatch them. Maybe she was still working on her clutch.

You didn't mention whether the broody cage was propped up so there is air flow below it and on her breast (or else I missed it) but this is the idea. The cooler air is supposed to break them, since setting on eggs builds up some heat between the hen's "belly" and the eggs. The one time I did thid, I set the cage on 4 concrete blocks. I have also heard of moving them to a concrete floor area with no ha or other bedding. I guess the concrete is cool enough to do the same thing.

It's not a problem if she is content in the cage, though it probably does mean she is still broody. some people leave them til the start laying agin, others til they start getting restless and lose that "trance" state.

Picking up a broody really isn't a big deal. I do it all the time. I have 3 I'm picking up at least daily now. Just hold them toward the back of their body where they can't reach you so easily. Or, wear some winter gloves. I don't fool with the cage, I just pick them up several times a day and prod them til they eat, etc. -- move around like a normal chicken. It doesn't work very well in breaking them, at least not for all of them (I have 3 at the moment) but at least it gets a little more food and water into them, and exercises their muscles.
Thanks flockwatcher...
the chicken jail (as I call it) is propped up, she is outside and can see the rest of her flock frolicking around buggin, bathing, and have fun in the sun. As far as picking her up, I actually haven't ever picked any of them up in the 7 months I've had them. I want to but I'm nervous and afraid. I don't want to stress them, and when I bend down to try they scatter.

Nice to hear from you, thanks again.
Helen
 

JackE

Crowing
Apr 26, 2010
2,327
756
281
North Eastern Md.
Oh yeah, they'll look content sitting in there all puffed up and flattened out. At least you don't have a wild hen like I have. She'll fight and scream like a maniac. I actually put my broody buster cage in the coop with the rest of the gang. My thought is, that the others will see her everyday, and the group won't have to go through the re-establishment of the pecking order, when she is released. I don't know if three days away would make for a big deal, but that's what I do.
Well, Goodluck with your hen.
Jack
 

chickengeorgeto

Crowing
7 Years
Dec 25, 2012
8,047
4,195
431
Big Bend of the Tennessee River's Right Bank.
Quote:
I agree with you. As for myself I can't see how Gallus gallus domesticus has survived and thrived for generation after generation for literally millions of generations with the poor hens sitting quietly on a clutch of ungrateful eggs 21 stressful days at a time without the benefit of human intervention to artificially break the brood cycle to insure that the hens are eating and drinking what we humans think is proper. Can anyone tell me how to give hens I.V. glucose to help them get past this un-natural period?
lau.gif


What's that you say? What has instinct got to do with the survival of chickens?
 
Last edited:

JackE

Crowing
Apr 26, 2010
2,327
756
281
North Eastern Md.
I agree with you. As for myself I can't see how Gallus gallus domesticus has survived and thrived for generation after generation for literally millions of generations with the poor hens sitting quietly on a clutch of ungrateful eggs 21 stressful days at a time without the benefit of human intervention to artificially break the brood cycle to insure that the hens eating and drinking what we humans think is proper. Can anyone tell me how I can give my hens I.V. glucose to help them get past this un-natural period?
lau.gif


What's that you say? What has instinct got to do with chickens?
Yeah, OK genius, let the bird sit for weeks on eggs that will never hatch. If she's sitting on fertilized eggs, different story.
That's what you are supposed to do, help the animals in your care.
Jack
 

MANNA-PRO

New posts New threads Active threads

Top Bottom