Pecking order or something else?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Our Roost, Dec 7, 2012.

  1. Our Roost

    Our Roost Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 13, 2011
    ScottsVille, michigan
    I have a buff orpington hen that is the first of my cluckers to start brooding and attempting to hatch some eggs. Every time she leaves the nesting box to feed and drink, she is met by a few members of the flock that challenge her. Fortunately she has been able to stand them off before retreating back to the nest. Can someone please tell me what is happening here? Normal or not? She has about 15 days or so to go. Also, if nothing happens should I pull her off the nest and discard her eggs?
  2. Judy

    Judy Chicken Obsessed Staff Member Premium Member

    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    Normal. Other hens will sometimes give the setting one a hard time.

    Not quite sure what you mean by the last question. If they haven't hatched in about 22 or 23 days, they will rot and explode, making a really stinking mess. You might try candling if you're not sure they are developing; lots of info about that in our Incubating and hatching eggs; check the stickies in the blue box at the top of the forum.

    Here's a good article on broody hens
  3. That's normal. Other birds in the flock always seem to be mean to broodies when they get off their nests. She'll be acting different and putting off different hormones, and that just seems to set something off with all the other chickens. As long as they aren't hurting her (or her chicks once they hatch) or drawing blood she'll be fine.

    Usually the hen will discard (i.e. she'll move them out from under her) any eggs that have something wrong or aren't developing. Somehow they just know when something isn't quite right with an egg/chick. If she rejects any eggs you should dispose of those immediately; even if they really are good and you leave them in there, if she doesn't want to sit on them she's just not going to. I've hardly ever had a broody sit on a nest of completely dud eggs , since she will usually leave the nest if she thinks they're all bad, or just not sit on them in the first place. BUT, if it turns out they all are bad and nothing's happening after 23 days, I'll just throw all the eggs away.

    Best of luck,

    ~~Ms. B :)
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2012

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