My first broody hen

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Wile E., Mar 5, 2012.

  1. Wile E.

    Wile E. Out Of The Brooder

    61
    1
    31
    Dec 6, 2011
    South Cryogenica
    Well, two hen broody on me, maybe.

    I have 4 hens. Two of them are acting broody. I do want to hatch some eggs, but I don't need both of them to do it, and I don't really think it is time yet.

    I am thinking that it would be better if the weather was warmer. Right now we have 8 inches of snow on the ground, and can get more for the next month. I am thinking that a hatch after Easter would be better. But the earlier the better so that they might start laying before next winter. How cold can baby chicks take it when raised by a hen?

    I have been getting 4 eggs a day, but the last couple days it was 1 or 2. Did the broody ones stop laying or is this just a normal fluctuation.

    I have golf balls in the nest boxes from when I was trying to get them to use the boxes. Should I take them out to try get these two hens to wait a month? They keep setting after I pull all the eggs. All four hens use two boxes, so it doesn't help that both of these gals wants to use one each.

    Additional info: They are buff orps, just under one year old, and they haven pulled belly feathers yet that i have seen.
     
  2. Judy

    Judy Moderator Staff Member

    34,028
    457
    448
    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    They may not be really broody yet if they haven't pulled feathers. I've had mama hens take chicks who were a few days old outdoors in 40 degree weather and they did fine, running under mama as needed to get warm, but it doesn't snow here. They might do fine with chicks, but personally, I'd wait a month or two and hope I had a good broody then.

    Many people separate a broody with her eggs til they hatch. If you don't, other hens will lay in the nest with the mama, and the eggs will get jostled and possibly broken. The mama may move the eggs, or steal other eggs. She may also return to the wrong nest. If you wait a while to give a broody eggs to hatch, it would give you time to set up a nest with a small yard for the broody. I have about a 5'x5' fenced off area in my coop I use for setting broodies; this is bigger than it needs to be, but it works fine. When the chicks hatch and the mama takes them to food and water, they all want out in a day or two, and at that point I turn them loose with the flock. This way they are already integrated when mama abandons them around 5 weeks or so.
     
  3. Wile E.

    Wile E. Out Of The Brooder

    61
    1
    31
    Dec 6, 2011
    South Cryogenica
    Thanks for the reply. I haven't got a pen for the broody, but I do have a dog carrier that I thought I could put her in. That would keep the chicks safe from the tomcat that has taken up residence. I expect he might leave when the weather gets better, so he might not be an issue.

    I am really new to this.

    I have learned that I should have gotten a different breed. I only need one or two hens that will go broody, not half the flock. I should have gotten a few Buff orps to be mothers and the rest Red stars or something.
     
  4. azygous

    azygous Chicken Obsessed

    10,245
    3,318
    461
    Dec 11, 2009
    Colorado Rockies
    Well, welcome to the club. I've dealt with enough broodies now that I can detect when they're going broody before they glue themselves to a nest.

    For a couple days I've heard my seven month-old SS pullet Linda emitting the soft, fretful "broody cluck". Last night she planted herself in a nest box instead of roosting with the others. She puffed up like an angry badger when I reached for her, screeching a warning.

    Today she's back on the nest. I've found in the past that I need to wait until they lay the final egg before placing them in the broody, open mesh bottom cage to break them. Getting them early does no good, and they're apt to lay that last egg in the cage, or in the case of one angry GLW, on the ground as it fell out of her bottom as I removed her from the nest.

    I'll let her sit in the nest box for a few more hours to make sure, and then she will spend days in the cage inside the run, and nights inside the cage moved into the garage, with a fan blowing under her to keep the air moving. By the third day, she'll be ready to return to the flock, still clucking the "broody cluck" but no longer having the urge to sit.
     
  5. mama dixie

    mama dixie Chillin' With My Peeps

    275
    0
    99
    Aug 11, 2011
    hello, I hope it is ok to jump in, I am having broody hens as well. I have a mixed flock and it is funny my girls all lay eggs in one nest. I could not find any then I found a pile of like 25 eggs and one hen garding them. she was very very intent on me not taking any. I took most of them and left her three I am going to move her to a dog crate to see if she adapts I am ordering some eggs off back yard chickens and I want to have her ready to go when they get here. My hens are cochen and faverels that seem to be going broody the most. my buff could not care less. good luck with the hatch if you go ahead.
     
  6. Wile E.

    Wile E. Out Of The Brooder

    61
    1
    31
    Dec 6, 2011
    South Cryogenica
    I took all the golf balls out of the nests. There were no eggs this morning. It may be the other two hadn't laid any yet. Perhaps I should see if I can get them to use another box if I put some bedding in it.

    I was hoping the two would give it up with nothing to sit on, but the other two hens use the same boxes so they get some encouragement.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by