Officially Confused

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by CESpeed, Dec 27, 2012.

  1. CESpeed

    CESpeed Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I want to have two flocks of Australorps: 12 for egg laying and 6-12 for meat chicks. From an answer I got in the coop section, I am officially confused. I thought that if a chicken was broody that she would need her own nest to sit on the eggs until they hatched. From what I've been told, the egg layers will go to a nesting box, drop an egg then leave but breeding hens will stay on her nest to hatch her eggs.

    Somebody please help. I clearly don't know what I'm doing. Also how thick should the straw be in a nesting box?

    THANK YOU!
     
  2. Pele

    Pele Chillin' With My Peeps

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    There's a good reason that you're confused: chickens are a fairly disorderly lot. lol.

    The broodies will pick a nesting box and stay, yes, but sometimes that will not stop another hen from cramming in and laying right next to (or on top of!) her before leaving. That happens when you have a broody that isn't particularily mean. The really mean broodies bite the dickens out of encroachers, so they get their own space :p.

    Keep in mind also that broodies are notorious theives. While no one is looking, they will steal eggs out of other nests if they can possibly do it. I've seen posters in the BYC forums that found random turkeys, guineas, ducks, etc under their hens that they had no intention of having that hen hatch. I know when I hatched turkeys under my friend's 2 broody bantam hens, each egg probably got stolen back and forth between them roughly 4 times a day. So the moral of the story here is: Mark your eggs!

    The nesting material thickness doesn't have to be exact. Maybe about an inch and a half to two inches, depending on the head-room in your boxes.

    Good luck, and enjoy having broodies! They're hilarious.
     
  3. CESpeed

    CESpeed Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thank you it sounds like my meat production will be interesting.
     
  4. ChickensRDinos

    ChickensRDinos Chillin' With My Peeps

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    A hen will need her own nest when she is broody. I think the confusion is that you are not going to be able to get 12 hens to all be broody at one time (which if I am understanding your posts, is what you are ultimately wanting?). So, if your meat flock is twelve you are never going to have a need for 12 boxes as you are only likely to have 1 or 2, if you are really lucky, broodies at one time.

    I think you are actually asking two questions:

    Does a broody hen need her own box? Yes. And depending on your flock you may want to separate her completely. Some people do and some don't. There are lots of factors.

    How do I make a hen sit on eggs? You can't. They will do it when their brain tells them to. Which might be every other month and might be never. You will not be able to assign 12 birds to be your "broodies" and make them all go broody. Chickens don't work that way.
     
    Last edited: Dec 27, 2012
  5. CESpeed

    CESpeed Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Can someone with something besides negative criticism please give me some helpful advice? Thank you.
     
  6. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

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    Seriously? Negative criticism? Where? I see good, sound advice. I'm not sure what else you're looking for, maybe do some general research on the learning center. And remember, this is a small community and you don't want to alienate those you're asking advice from.
     
  7. CESpeed

    CESpeed Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Maybe it's good sound advice to you because you have experience but to me, it isn't. There are people here who have given me wonderufl advice and there is a poster who is simply negative. That person inspired this thread because instead of giving me information they are trying to get me to raise a different bird and they don't like that won't mix up my flock.

    To those who have helped, I have thank you and I am grateful, but no I don't want to hear from naysayers esp those who don't offer a poositive solution.

    I know I'm still learning which is why I'm here months before I buy my flock so I can give them the best home I can.
     
  8. BusyBlonde

    BusyBlonde Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I don't know which post here you think is negative. I read what you asked, and it seems as though the above people posted good answers. Some chickens go broody, some don't, and you don't make the decision as to who will and when. There are breeds and individual chickens that tend to go broody more than others - I do not have experience with BA's, so I cannot claim to know how reliably they go broody. I do know that I've only had 2 of my BR's go broody - they decided when, and each only did it once so far (at the same time though). I can't depend on them to raise chicks for me, so I have incubators to insure I have the number of chicks I want to produce for meat and layer replacements.

    Since you don't have your chickens yet, you won't know: a) if they will ever go broody; or b) if they will be good mothers if they do go broody. Heck, I banded the one hen who successfully raised 3 chicks - she was a broody and a good mother. I am waiting to see if she will go broody this spring. If she does, I'll be really happy. But I can't depend on that so I will also incubate.

    You asked for advice from people that have experience. The beauty of it is that you can take what you want, and leave what you don't. I didn't see your other post, so I don't know what you meant by someone telling you to mix your flock. I have read a lot of posts claiming that silkies and some other breeds go broody a lot and make good mothers, and people use them to brood eggs from other breeds. It works for them. Again, you don't need to do that if you don't care to. Just realize that your BA's may not do exactly what you want them to do when you want them to do it. [​IMG]
     
  9. ChickensRDinos

    ChickensRDinos Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have only commented on two of your posts and have given you the best possible advice that I know of to help you better understand nesting boxes and broodiness so that your expectations can more realistically match actual chicken behavior. I already have this information; relaying it to you benefits me in no way. This is an excellent website. I learn new things from great people and in turn share my own knowledge and experiences.

    If you have an issue with me it is fine to settle it with me privately in a PM (Which you already did - rather abrasively, but that's ok. I would have left it alone at just that.). But to publicly post multiple disparaging comments in a community forum on which I try hard to be a positive and contributing member is over the line.

    A mixed flock to increase your chances of broodiness is one of MULTIPLE positive solutions I bothered to offer. The others included incubation or simply following a chicken's natural cycle and not sticking to a set human schedule. This is not my personal opinion. It is simple BIOLOGY. I don't care at all if you mix up your flock. It is just one of several options to get you to your goal. Others posters have also given you the same advice and information and two of the responses I gave you have received ovations from members. I am sorry if the reality of chicken reproduction sounds negative to you. The only other option is to buy chicks at regular intervals.

    If you are going to comment on others attitudes please stop and consider your own.

    Don't worry. I will adhere to your request and not bother to post on any more of your threads or offer you any further advice. I will keep my years of experience and extensive research to myself.

    Good luck.
     
    Last edited: Dec 28, 2012
  10. jandlpoultry

    jandlpoultry Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Everything I've read in this post sounds like good advice. Hens are funny about nest boxes. You may have enough boxes for everyone, and have them all want to lay in the same one.My girls will wait in line to use the "popular boxes", while identical boxes are available and never get used. They even ,as has been posted, squeeze in together and lay on top of each other.

    When you have a broody on eggs, it is a good idea to mark the ones she started with.That way you can take out any that get added at a later date.If your chickens are like my girls, you will have to check under them daily, to remove the new eggs.Or you could move your hen to an isolated, safe spot after she starts sitting, to keep the others from sneaking them in.

    Add enough straw to the nest box, so that you can't feel the bottom. Do not be surprised if they kick it all out.Do not be surprised if you catch them throwing it around with their beaks , because they will do both. I use straw in some boxes, and pine shaving in others.
     

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