Oh no, broody hen???

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by juliemom25, Nov 5, 2009.

  1. juliemom25

    juliemom25 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 4, 2009
    This is our first year doing chickens and things have gone pretty well. We have about 20 standard hens, two standard roos, two bantam roos and 4 bantam hens. Our standard hens are about 7/8 months old and most have been laying for 3 or so months. Well, we have a black australorp that is concerning me a bit. Our two oldest kiddos pretty much take care of the daily chores when it come to feeding/watering the chicks. My 11 yr dd noticed on Sunday that one of our BA's was not getting out of the nesting box like normal. I have talked to the kids about broody hens and what they do, so she asked if she could be broody. I have never seen a broody hen and I just told her to give it some time and we'd see how it goes. Well, I checked it out this morning and the same BA is in the same nesting box she has been in for 4 days now. She has 3 eggs under her, whereas my daughter said she only had one to start out with. Normally all the chickens flock to us in the morning. She does not move and when I went over to her, she like "growls" at me. She did let me lift her though to see the eggs.

    What do you all think? What should I do? I assumed the broodiness had been bred out of most of our standard hens (BA's, RIR's, NHR's, EE's and BO's). We are not opposed to babies, we have room for them. The kids would love to have babies, but we are going into winter in central Ohio and I have no clue how babies would stay warm unless we brought them back into the garage with a heap lamp (which we could do, but I prefer to keep them with mama).

    Do you think she is even broody?

    Thanks a heap!

  2. lauralou

    lauralou Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 10, 2007
    Central Virginia
    She sounds broody to me. Staying on the nest, puffing up her feathers, and making bizarre sounds when you try to mess with her. Those are some of the signs.

    As far as what you should do. Well, that's totally up to you. I currently have 3 broody hens with babies outside. Of course, I'm in VA, and it's not too terribly cold here yet. Plus the babies are 6 weeks old and 3 weeks old, so the oldest ones are pretty well feathered, and the youngest ones are well on their way.

    If you decide to wait, spring is probably a better time to let her hatch out chicks. And believe me, she will be broody again in spring. This isn't a one-time only opportunity for you. My broodies are so dang broody that I have built 3 broody jails so that I can break several hens of broodiness at once.

    The best way that I have found to break them is to put them in a wire cage with no nesting materials whatsoever. It's great if you can have a roost in that cage as well, but probably not necessary. I put the hen in the cage with food and water, and I don't let her out for a few days. Until she stops her puffing up and puck-puck-pucking. Then sometimes it's a trick, and I have to put her back in for a couple more days. My hens are very determined to be mommas!

    If you don't have a cage to put her in, sometimes simply putting her off the nest repeatedly will break her. If you can completely shut her away from her chosen nest, that would probably be a good thing.

    Good luck with it, whatever you decide to do. [​IMG]

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