Need Advice RE: Wacky Hormonal-Driven Bull-Headed Broody Hen!

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Mtn Laurel, Mar 10, 2015.

  1. Mtn Laurel

    Mtn Laurel Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My Buff Orp - Blondie - is broody. She's 2 years old and sat on fertile eggs last spring. She did a great job and was a fantastic mother. Last year we moved her into a chicken tractor by herself when she became broody and she brooded away from the rest of the flock without any problem.

    She's been broody about 2 weeks and has been staying in the communal nesting box. The other girls are picking on her and she's pushing them out of the nesting box so we needed to move her. Instead of moving her to the tractor she brooded in last spring, we partitioned off a corner of the coop for her. Figured it would be easier to handle food, water, etc. if she was in the coop. Also thought it would be easier to eventually integrate the chicks with the rest of the flock if they're raised nearby where they could be seen.

    Well, she is NOT HAPPY with the move! As she'd been stealing eggs to sit on, I put a few in the new nest. She booted one out and one broke, don't know if by accident or on purpose. I found the remnants buried deep in the nest box shavings. She's spending most of her time in the "foyer" [LOL] area, scratching and digging and doing that broody cluck-cluck-cluck. She's knocking over her food and water and being a real BRAT!!! And she's avoiding that new nest like the plague.

    So, as she's OFF the nest, I let her out into the "general population" thinking she wasn't ready to sit. And she went straight back to the communal nesting box and took back her original spot with her pancake-flattened broody body, pushing the rest of the girls out. They've finally made a nest in the corner of the coop to lay their eggs as she won't let anyone else in.

    What to do now? I put her back in the area we made for her and found her sitting on TOP the nesting box when we went to put up the girls tonight. Should I give her several days in there to adjust or move her to the tractor where she brooded last spring? This gal is driving me NUTS! LOL!
     
  2. chickengeorgeto

    chickengeorgeto Overrun With Chickens

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    I am just an old rooster so what do I know about hens? However it sounds to me like Blondie thinks that she has already hatched out a new clutch of chicks because she is acting like a new mother hen acts.. How you want her to behave is the important thing that needs addressing.
     
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2015
  3. Mtn Laurel

    Mtn Laurel Chillin' With My Peeps

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    She was laying in the nest box 24x7 until we moved her to the new spot. She doesn't seem to be searching for chicks, she's not pacing. And she's always done that "cluck-cluck-cluck" when she first gets broody but - yeah - I see what you mean by her acting like she's already hatched them.

    I was hoping she'd stay in her "broody on the nest" state when we moved her so we could put fertile eggs under her. She was fine with being moved last year. Not sure why she's responding differently this year. Maybe because it's a different spot?

    Beginning to think I should have put her back in the tractor where she brooded last year.
     
  4. krista74

    krista74 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My understanding is that broody hens imprint (attach) to their nests first, and it's not until such time that the chicks hatch that they like to be moved. Sometimes you can do it successfully prior to hatching, but more often than not it can break their broodiness, or at the very least cause them distress.

    If it were me, I'd try and let her stay in her chosen spot, and make sure she has some nice eggs to hatch out so that she gets her reward of being a Momma at the end. Once the chicks hatch, you can then move her to the cornered off section of the main coop, along with her new chicks, where I think they will settle in nicely.

    As far as your other layers go, I'd install an additional nest box or two (even cardboard boxes filled with hay will do) and let them lay their eggs there. If possible, it would be good to partition of the nest where your broody is sitting so that new eggs can't be added, but if that can't be done just mark her hatching eggs and remove any 'adopted/stolen' eggs each day.

    Good luck!

    - Krista
     
  5. Mtn Laurel

    Mtn Laurel Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Based on how she's acting, it does seem that she's imprinted on the nest. Her entire focus seems to be to get back to it. We're going to partition the nesting box off with half for Blondie. We can give the nesting box we made for Blondie to the rest of the gang for use while Blondie is brooding.

    Thanks and fingers crossed that this works as I really love watching a mother hen with chicks!
     
  6. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    When I tried switch my broody form one of the main nests to a portable floor nest, she was having none of it.
    So I put up the coop partition wire wall with her and the nest, she paced the wall for a good half a day, then finally went into the floor nest with the fake eggs in it....settled in and I waited a couple more days before giving her fresh fertile eggs.

    How long did you leave her separated?
     
  7. Mtn Laurel

    Mtn Laurel Chillin' With My Peeps

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    A good 24 hrs. She was throwing such a fit and not on the nest at all so I let her back out after 24 hrs. and that's when she went back to her original nest. We did this with her last year and had no problems at all. Guess she's a year older and a year wiser!

    We've put a divider up in the communal nesting box and are now letting her have her way. She's not sitting as she was but is still doing her cluck-cluck-cluck and the "turkey-puff". Thinking we've disrupted her cycle but that she'll come back to it eventually. Hope so!
     
  8. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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  9. chickengeorgeto

    chickengeorgeto Overrun With Chickens

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    If you want a hen to hatch chicks for you use a single nest box with an overlapping top and some kind of door that can be closed. Then in the dark of night close up and move box, nest, hen, eggs, mites and all to a small but safe private pen. Since I believe that hens wake up in a different world every day, your setting hen will never realize that she has been moved and continue incubating like before.

    You can't assume that hens are rational beings in the same way that you or I think about rationally.
     
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2015

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