Our Buff won't leave her nest.

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by katecox, Jan 2, 2011.

  1. katecox

    katecox In the Brooder

    Mar 22, 2010
    We have 6 girls, and they are all approx. 10 months of age. Up until now they have gotten along swimmingly. We left for two weeks at Christmas, our neighbor watched the girls and when we got back commented that our Buff O seemed broody and wouldn't leave her nest. The last three days have confirmed that. She won't leave her nest unless we physically remove her which we have done all three days. Each time I removed her and put her with the flock she was immediately chased by at least 3 of the 5 other hens. Chased and pecked at. Yesterday I noticed her comb was being pecked at and had some dried blood remnants. The coop design is 4'x4' and there has always been enough room for all 6 to sit on the perch. I checked the protein content of their food after noticing that as a cause in another post, and our content is 16%. The weather here has been unusually cold -- sitting in the 20's. I have the light go on right before dark and then it remains on for 6 hours (4:00 - 10:00). The Buff O just stays in her nest -- she doesn't even roost. Sits in the nest backward so her bum faces the coop. My biggest concern is that in 3 days we leave for a month and I won't be near to watch/help. I can give advice to our friends watching the chickens but I am concerned for her welfare when I go.

    Thanks for your help.
  2. ekemily

    ekemily Songster

    Mar 8, 2010
    Fairhope, AL
    the typical rule for inside the coop is 4 square feet per bird. you have 16 square feet = 4 birds, not six.
    But, besides that, I would just tell the person watching the hens not to take her out unless she's looking beat up, like missing feathers, won't eat, etc.
    Have a separate pen or crate or something for her to be moved to with food and water. It might be really tough to reintroduce her.
    You may end up needing to make a bigger coop or remove some birds. [​IMG]
    maybe some others can give you more helpful advice
  3. Kittymomma

    Kittymomma Songster

    Sep 9, 2009
    Olympia, WA
    They can do that when they're not feeling well, but since you're girl is a buff my first thought is that she's broody. When they go broody and stay on the nest all the time it's not uncommon for the other hens to treat them almost like a newbie and chase them around. Have you noticed anything else unusual? Does she puff up and growl at you when you take her off the nest (they don't all do this), does she look more pancaked out on the nest or hunched up? Is "someone" leaving huge stinky poos in the hen house?
  4. katecox

    katecox In the Brooder

    Mar 22, 2010
    She doesn't get upset with me when I take her off the nest, but she does sit in there with "haunches up", and when they other chickens come near her she once again raises her haunches up. Yes, her poops are rather odorous -- I know this because yesterday when I was cleaning up her bloody comb she pooped in the laundry room and the whole house smelled. So how long will the broodiness last? And she'll do this even though she won't have any eggs with chicks since we haven't a rooster?
  5. Jferlisi

    Jferlisi i dont eat chicken!!!!

    Nov 2, 2010
    Menifee CA
    They will go broody no matter what. And it all depends on her how long she will sit. My silkie who is broody atm doesn't growl at me either. Mine does everything yours does and when the other hens and rooster goes near her she screams at them but not me. So i wouldn't worry to much. I would suggest you keep food and water near her box so she can just hop out of her nest and eat and drink with no troubles and then be able to jump right back in the nest.
  6. katecox

    katecox In the Brooder

    Mar 22, 2010
    Okay, thanks everyone for your help. I appreciate the advice. I'll stop moving her out of the nest and let her handle this broody period on her own.
  7. thedeacon

    thedeacon Songster

    Nov 14, 2008
    Put some fertile eggs under her. When you get back, maybe a big addition to the flock.
  8. katecox

    katecox In the Brooder

    Mar 22, 2010
    I just thought of two other questions that you all might be able to help me with. Since the Buff is dominating the nesting box (we have two but they are side by side) the other chickens aren't laying in the coop -- instead they have found places outside to lay. Should I make them an alternative nesting place during this time that Lucy is broody?

    Also, I don't think this is related but it may be, our chickens are nocturnal. For the last month they haven't gone in their coop until 4-5 hours after dark (around 9:00). They stay in the front yard, and we live in the city so there is a bright streetlight, could this be screwing up their ability to get to the coop? Any hints would be welcome!
  9. PunkinPeep

    PunkinPeep Songster

    Mar 31, 2009
    SouthEast Texas
    Quote:I would put some fake eggs or golf balls in the open nest to help them get the hint. If you can get one of them to lay in there, the rest will probably join, and the fake eggs will probably trick them.

    If you feel that they are safe, i wouldn't worry too much about what time they're going to bed. Mine go in weird stages like that too, when they will want to stay out after dark. Sometimes i think it has something to do with the phases of the moon. If they make it TOO late, i'll make them go to bed, but if i feel they are safe, i will let them stay out later and enjoy the evening.
  10. valentinebaby

    valentinebaby Songster

    Mar 23, 2009
    Sherman-Denison, TX
    I have one BO, Topsie, that goes broody on me at times - I've noticed this happens usually after some stressful event, like losing another chicken to a predator, molting, etc. (I don't let them free-range anymore w/o total supervision). I know that sometimes if a chicken become very broody, they can lose weight - so watch her activities. There are lots of ways to get them over this broodiness period, but when my Topsie goes broody on me, I go out FREQUENTLY during the day and hold her, sometimes carry her into my house to switch her mind off the nest a bit, and just constantly go out and remove her from the nest and put her into the run. This usually shakes her of the habit w/in 2-3 days. At least during the time she has to go from the run back into the coop, she usually stops for a bite to eat and drink. Good luck!


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