Need advise...broody chicken!

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by wigginsfarm, Sep 15, 2012.

  1. wigginsfarm

    wigginsfarm New Egg

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    We are a new to the chicken world. So excited to have one of our 3 chickens start laying! It was like Easter every day. [​IMG]
    After 7 eggs, she skipped a day, then started nesting in the box more. Came out today to find "Gretel" moved the wooden eggs into one box where they were quite warm & toasty. She has only laid 8 eggs...do they get broody this early? What do you recommend? The other girls have not started laying yet. Shut the hen house up or take the nesting boxes out? Need experienced advise!
     
  2. HEChicken

    HEChicken Overrun With Chickens

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    That is awfully early for a hen to go broody - what breed is she?

    If it were me, I would give her some fertile eggs and let her sit on them. Attempts to break broodiness don't seem to be highly successful. Even when one apparently succeeds, the hen resumes being broody after a short while. The best way to cure broodiness seems to be to let them sit. If you don't have a rooster, you could place an ad on Craigslist requesting some fertile eggs. I did that a couple of times when I didn't have a rooster and both times was able to find some eggs easily. If you don't want a bunch of new chicks, just put 2-4 eggs under her.
     
  3. math ace

    math ace Overrun With Chickens

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    If she is brand new to laying eggs, then I would probably try to break her of being a mommy.

    If you put her in a new place for a week or so, that may break her little hormone cycle.
    I have a space in the run that I can fence off for such situations. If the other girls are not showing any signs of laying, you could just block off the nesting boxes for a week or so.

    I've had other coops that had hens go broody in them. In those coops, I didn't have the luxury of having extra space to block off for the broody hen. I had to just leave the broody in the next and keep removing eggs from her daily. I threw her off the nest every time I went out to check on the birds. She would run and get a drink and eat a little bit. Then she would return to the coop and her eggless nest. This would go on for the 2 or 3 week period before she worked out the hormones on her own. In other words, this too shall pass if you ignore it and don't let her have any eggs.
     
  4. HEChicken

    HEChicken Overrun With Chickens

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    Why is that - I'm just curious.....

    I had a hen go broody after laying only 28 eggs - not quite as early as the OP's but still pretty soon after laying. She was a bantam so I only gave her 3 eggs. She hatched two and did a great job mothering them.
     
  5. math ace

    math ace Overrun With Chickens

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    Wow, I do appear to be in direct contrast to HEchicken's advice. I will agree that she will return to being broody again. However, I said to try to break her because she is so young at laying eggs. I am not sure how good of a mommy she will be once she hatches the chicks when she is so young.

    I also agree that breaking the broodiness is not easy to do. The hormones are running and in control. The hen will get over it when the hormones fade. It will take a couple of weeks for it to happen. A sudden move to a new place, locked away from her friends, will encourage the hormones to take a back seat...

    My BEST broody hen went broody and I broke it. Two or Three months later, she was at it again!
    I let her have a batch of fertile eggs then. She sat tight on them and raised them until they were older enough to merge into the adult flock. My worse broodies were hens that went broody early and I let them hatch a clutch of eggs. They stopped taking of the chicks after a few weeks. They were just too young to be good mommies.
     
  6. HEChicken

    HEChicken Overrun With Chickens

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    Ahhh...I see. Interesting. I did have a BSL who was 17 months old and had been laying a year before she went broody and she aised hers until they were 15 weeks old.

    My younger broody...its hard to say. The chicks actually kind of abandoned her when they were only 3-4 weeks old. They were able to squeeze out of the run through a small gap and she was frantic at first, pacing back and forth and calling to them. They ignored her so after a day or two of that, she gave up on them and by the time they were 5 weeks old, she was laying again. Right around then, I had a fox attack, and it apparently scared the youngsters so much they realized they really do still need their mommy. To my surprise, she took them back even though they hadn't even been sleeping together for the past week to 10 days. She let them hang with her until they were again ready to separate from her, so I can't really hold her short motherhood against her, since it was initiated more by the chicks than by her.
     
  7. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

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    Wait and see if she's truely broody. Young layers often just hang out in the nest box and sometimes like to move eggs around. If she spends 2 nights on the nest, consider her broody and decide where you want to go from there.
     

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