Please help diagnose RIR hen- broody? Something else?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Firefly, Sep 28, 2008.

  1. Firefly

    Firefly Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 26, 2007
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    I've been reading the forum to try and get a handle on my RIR's strange behavior. After reading what I've found I think she might be broody, but she is not a textbook case so I'm a little unsure.

    Here is the story: In late June/early July I noticed one of my 15 month old RIR's had a bare spot on her chest. It looked raw and red. After observing the hens for a few days, I determined she was doing it to herself. I used some of the Blu-Kote stuff and that seemed to help for a while. In the last month and a half it's gotten worse, to the point where she's picked a good size patch off her breast to the point that not only is it red and raw, she has a small scab from drawing blood.

    I know the self-plucking breast feathers alone isn't enough to say she's broody. But she also has been spending a lot time in her nesting box. She will go and free range for a while, but often I find her in the nesting box laying on the golf balls. She has stopped laying, too.

    Other possibilities I've considered:

    Lice/mites... but I've checked again and again and even dusted with DE just in case.

    Boredom/lack of nutrition... they are getting a standard layer feed (16%) freely fed, PLUS free range all day on almost 3 acres. The coop and run are huge. So I don't think this is the problem.

    Stress... we introduced a new group of youngin's this summer once they reached 10 weeks. I think she would have adjusted to them by now... they all hang out together and seem to get along fine. But maybe things are going as smoothly as I anticipated?

    Phew! Sorry this is so long. One final question. If she IS broody, I don't mind letting it run it's course, but how long should I expect it to last? It's been almost 3 months already!

    Thanks so much for any feedback [​IMG]

    Kelli

    Edited to add: for the first time ever, tonight when I went out there, she was sleeping in one of the nesting boxes!
     
    Last edited: Sep 28, 2008
  2. bigzio

    bigzio Overrun With Chickens

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    My thought is that RIR's are not known to be a broody breed.

    Dusting with DE isn't the best choice to rid the problem once it is present.

    Vermin, will not be present anymore if 5% sevin dust is used, and then again in 10 to 14 days.

    The new issue of backyard poultry magazine, lists carbaryl (sevin) as a product for all mites,lice, fleas,bed bugs....it also lists DE, however my experience has been that best results, hands down are the result of 5% sevin dust.

    Could be a vermin issue for you, in my opinion.

    bigzio
     
  3. Godsgrl

    Godsgrl Ostrich wrangler

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    For me, sleeping in the nesting box is a sure sign of broodiness. You can give her some fertile eggs to incubate, or put her in a small cage to break her. If you can't get eggs for her, I'd break her. It's tough on them to brood for a long time with no results.

    As far as RIR's not tending towards broodiness, no one told my hens that! We had to break 3 hens this year. Wishing you the best with your hen!
     
  4. Firefly

    Firefly Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 26, 2007
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    Thanks so much for the replies! I will investigate further the possibility of lice/mites, though I would be surprised if that's what's going on--wouldn't the other hens be effected, too? Still, it's worth a closer look!

    But I'm glad to hear that RIRs do go broody occasionally. Finding her roosted in the nest box last night was the first thing that made me think she might be! If that is the case, I'll try to find some fertilized eggs for her to sit on.

    Thanks again!

    Kelli
     
  5. Godsgrl

    Godsgrl Ostrich wrangler

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    Occasionally? Occasionally broody? We had an all out, everyone's invited broody party this spring/summer at our house. Goodness gracious, those RIR's. LOL

    Good luck with your hen.
     

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