My first time with a broody - ugh!

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by swordgeek, Jan 4, 2011.

  1. swordgeek

    swordgeek Chirping

    Jun 23, 2010
    Westford, MA
    Sometime during this past week, I noticed my 10-month-old black silkie, Julia, spending an inordinate amount of time in one of the nest boxes, making little cooing noises and hunkered down like a little zombie chicken. Hmm, I thought... I could swear she already laid today! Nighttime came, so I pried her out of the nest and plopped her onto her perch next to her BFF. She was not happy. Next day, same thing. I started to panic, thinking she was dying on me and needed a smoft place to expire. The kids and I were sick to our stomachs. (And I confess, in the middle of all the worry was the nagging thought that the ground was frozen solid, so how was I going to dig a grave if she did die??? Can't leave her in my backup freezer for the winter, because that just died on me!)

    This repeated another day or two, while I frantically looked up symptoms. Then it occurred to me in the middle of the night... oh, right, she's broody. Never had a broody hen before - didn't know what to expect. NOW what do I do? I do NOT want chicks![​IMG] Looked up methods of breaking the cycle here, continued to collect eggs out from under her (other birds just ignore her tiny mass and hop into the nest to lay around her) and pry her off the nest at night. If I didn't get the light out in time, she'd hop off the perch and move back to the nest, so it was quite a race to get it done before she could move. I have no idea if she stumbled there in the dark once I left, because by the time morning rolled around and I made it outside to open the coop up, she was already hunkered down in a nest. Often with another egg or two under her, the little stinker.

    After some advice from HenCam, who lives in the next town, I decided to just let her do her thing in her own time. I keep collecting the other girls' eggs - I do have a rooster, albeit one who doesn't get a lot of action, despite having 8 hens at his disposal. I occasionally yank her out of the nest and plop her down in the run, if only so she can get some exercise scurrying back in and - stopping for food and water en route. But I let her have her way and sleep in the darned nest, because it's too bloody cold out to let her sleep in a cage with a wire bottom right now.

    She WILL eventually realize this isn't going anywhere and abandon this broody thing, right? She WON'T starve herself to death, right? This broody thing stinks. Do. Not. Like. [​IMG]
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2011
  2. chicmom

    chicmom Dances with Chickens

    Feb 24, 2009
    Strasburg Ohio
    Broodiness is sort of a hormonal thing. And silkies are notoriously broody. She will get over this. A friend of mine had a silkie that tried to hatch a pinecone all winter! hehe Don't sweat over it. Broodies do get off the nest once or twice a day to eat, drink and poo. I would just let her be and let nature handle it. I'd just remove the eggs daily.

    Another friend had a silkie that was almost always broody. My friend would sit an egg on the ground, and her silkie hen, Susie, would run over and sit on the egg. It was comical.

    Don't worry. Things will be fine.

  3. gritsar

    gritsar Cows, Chooks & Impys - OH MY!

    Nov 9, 2007
    SW Arkansas
    I'm dealing with my second broody, my first one quit on me on her own.

    I have to take my broody off the nest once a day, since she is not getting off by herself to eat, drink or poop. Other than that, I'm leaving her alone. She has four fertile eggs under her.
  4. rungirl

    rungirl Songster

    Apr 7, 2010
    Columbus, Ohio
    I was kind of annoyed by it at first, then I thought... well, poor thing can't help it. So I took her off once a day and dipped her beak in the water and set her down by the feeder and let her do what she wanted. Eventually, after 4 or 5 weeks, she gave up. Next time, I'll get her some eggs to hatch now that I know she's so determined. It all works out.

  5. DutchieWannabe

    DutchieWannabe In the Brooder

    Aug 18, 2010
    I too have a broody, being broody right now for the second time in 6 months! [​IMG] the first time I used a "broody buster method" but now I think its too cold for that (we havent reached above freezing in days) so I am letting her ride this one out, she doesnt even have any eggs to sit on, the other ladies have found a new place to lay in the mean time (4 ladies, 1 next box). good luck waiting it out. i realy dont like it either, and the crazed look in their eyes dont help!!! [​IMG]
  6. Chicken.Lytle

    Chicken.Lytle Songster

    Oct 19, 2010
    Montgomery County, TX
  7. swordgeek

    swordgeek Chirping

    Jun 23, 2010
    Westford, MA
    Well, thanks, folks! I feel a whole lot better about things now, and much more confident that she won't die of starvation out there. It's actually pretty funny watching her with the other birds. Though I have 3 cozy nests for 8 hens, side by side, she prefers only one of them. Unfortunately, so do the rest of the birds, which I really don't understand. When my rooster sticks his face in there near her, she actually screams at him! She's like a little banshee. She grumbles at the other girls, especially when they climb in next to her to lay their eggs, but at least she doesn't scream. Fortunately, she's really gentle with me and the kids, just making disgruntled noises when we hoist her up to grab the eggs out from under her. I've heard some horror stories about their moodiness and pecking.

    I'm going to miss those tiny eggs while she's like this, though. She had become my most regular layer, and only just started a month or so ago. [​IMG] Stupid hormones.
  8. I've had my girls take turns being broody on and off for months. We did the wire cage thing for a few days for each of them and they stopped the broody behavior. But the last time (just around Christmas time) it went down to the single numbers at night and we brought her and the cage into the house -- it just seemed too mean to have her outdoors without anyone to snuggle with or warm bedding to get comfy on. We decided that if one of them goes broody again this winter we'll just let her be. We'll get some fertilized eggs come Spring if one of them is broody, as they seem to be good mother hen material. It can drive you nuts though! Mine have a major PMS-type hormonal personality change.
  9. flockman

    flockman Songster

    Nov 6, 2010
    Northern Indiana
    I have had some pullets that were hatched in March go broody 3 times since they started laying in Sept/Oct. I keep a wire cage set up inside the coop to put broody hens in for a few days. That has broke most of them in 3 days. One it took her a week. The cage is elevated with wire floor. I keep a perch, food and water in the cage and usually in 2-3 days they give up. One of our favorite hens has gone broody 6 times since she started laying just over a year ago. She appears to be an EE crossed with a cochin. She stayed broody without giving up for 7 weeks. That is when I set up the cage. She hatched chicks last spring. Hope you can break up your broody. It seems the earlier I stop them the sooner it is till they start laying again.[​IMG]
  10. TruesMom11

    TruesMom11 Hatching

    Apr 8, 2011
    My girl went broody several weeks ago. We tried the "move it sister" method to no avail then the "no admittance" method for a while and still she persists. So 3 days ago she was isolated from the flock, the nest boxes and the steady stream of eggs to sit on. She's confined to a extra large rabbit cage with minimal shavings, food and water, and a bright light. So far she is still puffing at us when we reach in but she has stopped the desparate cackles from the first day. If she doesn't break soon, I think she will just get her way. We have a feed store close that gets day olds for Easter so we are gonna give her a foster chick to take care of. FYI, her torturous confinement is in my living room where she can watch tv and enjoy a climate controlled environment. Although, I must say the constant attention from my cats and dog have successfully caused her to stand and rearrange herself quiet often so I am hopeful that will also lend to her broody break!

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by: