My silly broody girls

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Aussiechookmum, Dec 19, 2009.

  1. Aussiechookmum

    Aussiechookmum New Egg

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    Help!!!!! I've got two girls that have gone broody. They're refusing to leave the nest even though they're not sitting on anything (except each other!) and are not laying. This has been going on for about 2 weeks now - I was leaving them to it to start with figuring they'd get over it when they realised they've got no eggs under them but no, they're persistant little ladies. I tried the water in a bucket thing yesterday but it hasnt helped. I'm now removing them from the nest box every time they go back in it. Will this behaviour wear off??!!! We dont want any extras at this stage so leaving them with a couple of eggs to hatch out isnt really an option.

    One of course is a silkie - silly little mum. And the other is a bantam of some kind, not sure exactly what.

    The flock is free range during the day. I dont wanna shut the pen off completely to them all cos then the others wont be able to get in to lay. I know there are theories about putting them in a separate pen but we dont have anything like that available. Any other suggestions? Should I just keep up with the water baths??!!
     
  2. LilBizzy

    LilBizzy Chicken Storyteller

    May 20, 2008
    Maryland
    Hello, and welcome to BYC. I also have a broody silkie- plus 2 broody D'Uccles. They,too are sitting on nothing!
    I have read suggestions on how to break a broody, and the most common method seems to be putting them in a wire cage with no nesting materials. The idea behind the water dunk is to cool them off- their body temps rise when they are broody.
    The last broody I had, I moved her butt off the nest several times a day. I took her out of the coop, made her go outside. As soon as I turned my back, she'd be back on the nest. It took about 6 weeks, but one day, she finally gave up. ( The next day, the other one started, though LOL)
    You could keep doing what you are doing, but since silkies are notorius for going broody, it may be a losing battle...
     
  3. lauralou

    lauralou Chillin' With My Peeps

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    When I first discovered that I had broody hens, I tried everything that I read about, except the wire cage method. I didn't have a wire cage, and it seemed kind of mean to me in my innocence, so I didn't even care to try it.

    As time went on, the problem got worse and worse. I had a lot of broody hens, and nothing I did worked to break them of their broodiness. And I spent a lot of time and effort in the trying. So I finally gave in and built myself a wire cage out of scrap materials I had laying around. (I'm lucky that way, and we always have lots of scraps to build things with. [​IMG] )

    The wire cage method works like a charm! It made my life so much easier. I have now built several "broody jails" so that I can break multiple hens at the same time. Hopefully none of you guys will ever have as many broodies as I have, but either way, I really suggest that you make or find a wire cage for breaking broodiness. Once you get into a rhythm of breaking your broodies, it isn't a hassle at all. You get them back into production as quickly as possible, and it's better for their health too. If they aren't sitting on any fertile eggs, there isn't any point in letting them lose all of the weight that broodies tend to lose when they are trying to hatch chicks.
     
  4. Aussiechookmum

    Aussiechookmum New Egg

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    Hmmm - well it looks like we might have to make a jail for them then. Do they stay in it all the time? Or just at night? And what sort of size does it need to be?
     
  5. lauralou

    lauralou Chillin' With My Peeps

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    When I put a hen in broody jail, she stays there until she stops being broody. It usually takes between 3 days and a week, depending on how determined she is, how long she was broody before I put her in there, and how many times my husband snuck and let her out. The naughty husband is no longer a problem, since I finally convinced him that he was not doing the hens a favor. Also no longer a problem with putting in them late, because I have lots of broody jails now. The very determined hens, still a problem. [​IMG]

    So, I put them in broody jail, for say 3 days hopefully. They get out when I walk by and don't hear them puck-puck-pucking at me. If I let them out and then notice that they have gone back to the nest, they have to be in broody jail for a while longer. My jails are set up with a little roost about 6 inches off the ground, a small hanging feeder that is built out of wood scraps, and a small wooden platform on the floor with a chick waterer sitting on it. Someday I will get hanging pop bottle waterers too.

    The first broody jail I ever built was about 2 feet by 4 feet. My thought was that I would be able to put 2 hens in it at the same time. That did not work out! The 2 hens fought each other the entire time, and the result was extreme chaos and bloody combs. Very bad! Your hens might act better than mine did...

    I have tried to find pics of it, but evidently I have deleted them because they are so old. And since we have 2 feet of snow right now, I can't really run out and take more pics for you. So I'll try and explain it. Like I said, 2X4 feet. The door is about 2 feet wide and takes up half of the width. The roost runs the other way, along the back wall, about a foot out. Then it has a little sloped roof and sits up on a stand we made from scraps of landscaping timbers. The floor and walls are made of wire. Like hardware cloth, but not really. I'm not actually sure what it is because someone gave it to me off a construction site. Maybe lath?

    After that, I bought an old rabbit cage at a swap meet for 5 dollars. It's about 3X3. Maybe a bit less. It's off the ground about an inch just because of the way that it's built. No roost, but I would put a scrap of 2X4 on the floor and the girls would sit on that to get their feet off the wire.

    I also have 2 wire dog crates that I could use in a pinch. I'm guessing that those are about 2X3.

    As you can probably see, you can use just about anything. If you are going to build something youself, just build a frame of 2X2's or 2X4's and wrap it in wire. Put a little roof on and add legs so it stands up to a comfortable height for you. A roost, a couple of small hinges to make a door, and there you go!

    If you feel really ambitious, and know you are going to be dealing with a lot of broody hens, here is a picture of my all time favorite broody jail. It is an old rabbit hutch that my husband's best friend was getting ready to throw away. (It's 2 feet by 4 feet. Or maybe 3 feet by 4 feet.) I pulled off the front, pulled out the entire insides, separated it into 2 jails, added roosts, feeders, and 2 little doors. It's not pretty, but it's amazingly functional!

    [​IMG]

    I hope that was helpful. It would also be cool if anyone else wanted to talk about what they use. Hint, hint. [​IMG]



    I just remembered, I've seen a picture somewhere of a broody jail that was inside of someone's coop. It was a wire cage like I've described above, framed from 2X4's wrapped in wire, and attached to the wall pretty high up, so it was out of the way.
     
    Last edited: Dec 21, 2009
  6. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    Lauralou, I think your broody buster is beautiful.

    Here is mine. When I built my two nesting boxes, I left a space between them to use as a broody buster, to isolate chickens for healing or treatment, to starve for a day to clean out their digestive system if I am going to process them, or, if I want a broody to hatch out chicks, to use to isolate the broody and her eggs from the rest of the flock while letting her stay with the flock. I do feed and water in here but I do not have any roost. No nesting material at all in the center section. I have a door I can get to this area from the back and made a wire holder to keep the water from getting knocked over. The bottom is wire to help cool her bottom and she stays in here day and night until she is broken.

    [​IMG]
     
  7. lauralou

    lauralou Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Cool, Ridgerunner. There are as many options as there are minds to dream them up!

    You reminded me of what a friend of mine uses. Like yours, hers can be for breaking broodies, or for keeping broodies separate with their eggs and chicks.

    Her nest boxes are raised up off the ground, and the broody area is wired off underneath the nest boxes. Nice and out of the way, yet protected from the elements.
     
  8. Hens and Roos

    Hens and Roos Chillin' With My Peeps

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    we just finshed getting one of our hens to stop being broody, after the egg she was sitting on was no good. We just kept making her get up and move to a different spot in the pen after removing her nest box. Hopefully from the looks of it this morning she gave up.
     
  9. Aussiechookmum

    Aussiechookmum New Egg

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    Thanks for the extra pics and info every one. Lauralou - your little prison is sooooo cute. Finding an old rabbit hutch in Queensland Australia would be a toughie though - its actually illegal here to keep rabbits as pets. Strange, but true.

    I see the idea though, we'll have to have a look thru our wood pile and see if we can cobble something together.

    Thanks again.
     
    Last edited: Dec 21, 2009

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