PLEASE WE Need help / advise for broody Orpington

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by bevis, Oct 7, 2014.

  1. bevis

    bevis Chillin' With My Peeps

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    We have a newly laying Buff Orpington that has gone broody. We do not have a rooster nor do we want one. She is staying in her nesting box around the clock, the same box every time, including sleeping in it. i do not want to put her in a rabbit cage with a wire bottom to try and break her. That seems cruel to me. There is a local farm close to me that has offered to give me some fertile eggs for her to lay on and hatch. Obviously, i would have to return the chicks because we would have no way of knowing which were pullets because we do not want a rooster. Please chime in with your advise. Here are my questions. Thanks in advance for the help.

    1. If we let her continue with the current behavior , is there any harm to the chicken.

    2. It appears that for the last 2 days, she has not laid an egg, is that normal ? we have checked around the vent and felt for egg stuck and everything seems fine.

    3. will she starve ? i physically remove her to the outside run during treat time and she eats then but immediately returns to the nest box.

    4. If not broken, how long does the brooding last ?

    5. If we take the fertile eggs from the farmer that has offered and she hatches them, how long do we leave the babies with their
    mother before returning them to the farmer ?

    6. Sounds stupid but will taking her chicks from her break her heart or emotionally effect her ?

    7. the only upside is the farmer said i could keep the babies if i liked but we are afraid of getting a rooster . we are not allowed to
    have a rooster here per the zoning laws and we don't want to have to try and give a rooster away. not easy sometimes.

    8. is it harmful or stressful to her when i physically remove her from the nest to put her in the outside run so she eats ? she does not
    try to bite me and lets me pet her. I just don't want to mess her up emotionally.

    9. if we let her hatch some fertile eggs, will that stop the broodiness / if we don't let her hatch eggs, will the broodiness stop ?


    thanks for your help.
    we are new backyard chicken owners and certainly need help..
     
  2. barbiegirl

    barbiegirl Chillin' With My Peeps

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    When a hen goes broody she will not lay any eggs. While raising her babies, she will not lay eggs either.

    You may want to give her a little dish of food and water if you are concerned about her eating and drinking. Most broodies will get off the nest and eat and drink and go to the bathroom.

    I had a silkie that will only stop being broody if she hatched out some eggs.

    Hopefully more will chime in with your other questions. Good luck
     
  3. bevis

    bevis Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks for the reply. I have read in other threads that if you put food and water near her in the hen house that she may not be motivated to leave the hen house and cause her to stay on the nest. currently, i am removing her physically and carrying her into the outside run and sitting her down. I then shut the hen house door so she can't get back in until i see her eat something. She is walking around with her head down and her feathers all puffed up. She almost looks as big as a turkey. I assume it is to make her look bigger and scare off everyone.
     
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2014
  4. barbiegirl

    barbiegirl Chillin' With My Peeps

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    When she is outside she has her head down and feathers puffed out?
     
  5. rebrascora

    rebrascora Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hi

    Not a huge amount of experience but here's my input

    1. Being broody takes quite a lot out of them because they don't get the exercise and nutrition that they normally would, so it depends on how determined your broody is. If she is determined to wait for chicks to hatch, she could go months and become really run down if the current situation with no fertile eggs continues. On the other hand she could give up in a few weeks.

    2. Yes it is normal to stop laying eggs when they go broody. Their natural cycle is to lay a clutch of eggs and then stop laying and sit on them to incubate them. That way, all the eggs hatch more or less together.

    3. Some broodies do lose a lot of condition and almost go into a trance whilst they are sitting, so that they seem to forget to eat or drink. I don't know of any cases where they have starved but they certainly can and do lose weight and combs go pale and dry looking. If you are making her get up and get something, that is beneficial even though it seems harsh.

    4. As No. 1 it depends on the broody. Some determined ones will sit until they get a result or are broken of it.... ie mesh floor etc. Others may give up after 3-4 weeks. If they are inexperienced or not committed, then they may give up sooner.

    5. Leave them with her until she casts them off. Anywhere between 5-12 weeks.

    6. If you do as above, she will be ready to part with them and most likely not bat an eyelid. It is obvious when she has had enough of them. My broody turned from wonderful caring mother to picking on them the moment they came near and being really mean with it, all in a matter of a day. She started laying that day and was obviously starting to focus on her next family to be.

    7. It is right to consider this as it is an important issue. It was something I thought a lot about before raising chicks and the conclusion I came to was that I would raise the cockerels for meat. I am the softest person I know and struggle to kill a fly, but I do eat meat and chicken in particular and therefore I have to accept the dirty work that comes with it. You will almost certainly get as many roosters as pullets from your hatch, if you are unlucky, more that 50%. So with even 2 eggs, you are likely to get at least 1 rooster. The farmer will most likely cull and if so, hopefully eat the ones you give back and don't kid yourself that there are people out there wanting roosters for pets/breeding because the vast majority of people will be like you and trying to get rid of them. By the time they are 5-10 weeks old, you will have become attached to them, so it will be very hard for you. I find it is easier having lots of them, so that I don't get attached to a particular one although I do have 2 that are intent on stealing my heart. I am allowed to keep cockerels but one or two is enough. More just fight and don't have any hens to mate with and it is not a good situation to be in aside from me not being able to afford to feed all those extra mouths.
    It will most likely be several weeks after hatching before you are able to identify which are males anyway, sometimes it takes until they crow or lay an egg to identify them.... possibly 20+ weeks.

    8. She might be momentarily upset, but it is for her own good, so don't worry about it. I usually leave food and water within reach of her nest and let her go when she needs to.... sometimes only every other day. If she didn't move after 2 days I would be encouraging her, but it will not harm her to make her move every day.

    9. It is an absolute joy to see a broody hen looking after chicks and teaching them how to forage, dust bath and roost. The need to incubate eggs will stop when the eggs hatch into chicks, then the mothering instinct takes over. She will mother them until they can look after themselves and then cast them off and start laying again. Within a few weeks of laying she may go broody again though and if not then, almost certainly the next year. Maternal instinct is a strong urge and will reoccur. If you don't let her hatch eggs, you may need to resort to the rabbit cage to break her broodiness if it goes on too long, as it will impact on her health.

    I'm sorry there are no easy answers on this subject. All routes have their anguish. I've had the joy of seeing my broodies raise chicks but unfortunately I am fast approaching the time when I need to deal with the male consequences of that.

    Best of luck finding the right course of action for you.

    Regards

    Barbara
     
  6. bevis

    bevis Chillin' With My Peeps

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    yes for a minute or so but then stands upright to eat. but she still has her feathers puffed up.
     
  7. Ol Grey Mare

    Ol Grey Mare One egg shy of a full carton. ..... Premium Member

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    Last edited: Oct 7, 2014
  8. bevis

    bevis Chillin' With My Peeps

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    WOW, thats a huge help and thanks for your reply. I was not counting on these types of decisions when i decided to get 20 pullets for pets and eggs.
    As i was afraid you would say, she will continue to go broody in the future. I guess i will have to raise chicks for that farmer… We are pretty much at the max for headcount
    on chickens, The farmer suggested about 8 eegs for her to sit on, so i will have to take on the extra expense of starter grower food and keep them and the mother isolated from the other hens and
    then have to feed those mouths until its time to return them to the farmer. This is not an easy decision. Is 8 eggs about the right amount ? The farmer said that typically all the eggs will not hatch. She said about 5 will probably hatch.

    I absolutely DO NOT want a rooster around my girls. So, if you say that you can't tell sometimes if you have a rooster or not until they start laying or crowing, if there is a rooster in the bunch of chicks that were hatched, can that rooster fertilize my other hens ? If so, then i will have to break her of this broodiness.
     
  9. bevis

    bevis Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thank you so much for the help , we have 12 red sex links, 2 silver wyandots, 2 barred rocks, 2 americaunas, and 2 buff orpingtons. everything has been AWESOME, until now :(
     
  10. bevis

    bevis Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Just to ask the question again, can a 6 to 8 week rooster, fertilize my other hens ?
    That would be a deal breaker for me on getting fertilized eggs from the farmer.
    Sorry if this sounds like a dumb question but we are newbies.
     
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2014

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