Pretend Broodies? Or just me being paranoid?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by aprhardy, Mar 25, 2011.

  1. aprhardy

    aprhardy Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Dec 3, 2010
    Floyd Va
    So I'm sure all the veteran chicken keepers out there this is going to be an annoying newbie post about broody hens......but....none the less I have a question.....

    I think 2 of my hens like pretending to be broody, or maybe I'm reading too much into their behaviors and with hopes of having a broody hen, see them as acting broody. Here's what they do that make me think such. They'll sit in the nest box all day, not a few hours but all flippin' day, pulling hay into the box with them doing their soft bok bok bok's. At night they are on the roost with the others. The next day they act like they don't know what a nest box is. They take turns, one day it'll be one of my Dominiques, and the next one of my Speckled Sussex. Are they pretending or preparing to become broody, or am I just wishing too much that one of them would go broody?? If I go into the coop to check for eggs, they'll come out of the box with some persausion, and usually will go back in. I'll leave their egg IF they have laid one (which they sometimes don't) until the night when I lock up, and there they are on the roosting rails, egg in the box. They've been doing this for several days, probably about 2 weeks. We just got our coop set up a few days ago, and even when they were in the temporary pen they had 2 boxes to sleep/nest in. They'd sit in one box all day, then go sleep with the other hens in the other box.

    Any advice???

    Ohhh and does anyone know of a link that maybe describes a typical broody hen?? My search for this resulted in a million threads that ever even mention the word broody, and none really applying to broody hens.

    Thanks a bunch!! Love my BYC peeps!! [​IMG]
     
  2. ralleia

    ralleia Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 22, 2011
    Omaha, NE
    They may be thinking about getting broody, but they're not "full broody" AT ALL.

    A broody hen will:

    -Sit in the nest box on her eggs (or adopted eggs, or fake eggs) all day and all night. She'll hop off for a brief meal and a drink of water (which you'll probably miss) once a day.
    -When you approach she will a) puff up, b) growl c) BITE! (or a combination). My sweet hens just growl and puff--my not so sweet Brahma is handled with leather gloves.
    -Normally (but not 100% of the time) she will tear out her own breast feathers. I figure it's to improve conduction of heat between herself and her eggs.

    Your hens are still confused. Don't take 'em seriously until you've seen one staunchly defend a nestbox for at least two days in a row.
     
  3. aprhardy

    aprhardy Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Dec 3, 2010
    Floyd Va
    Thanks for your advice and info! Good to know! Wow! From what you described they are no where near broody! If I want them to go full broody, should I put fake eggs for them to sit on? Is there a way to push them towards being broody? And once they go broody, do they still lay? Sorry I'm new to all this and am forever asking a million questions.
     
  4. ralleia

    ralleia Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 22, 2011
    Omaha, NE
    It's really up to the chicken and her hormones--there's not a lot that you can do to encourage solid broodiness (or to DIScourage it for that matter, either). It's going to be in her genes or not in her genes. If you want broodiness, then you need to have (or acquire) hens that tend towards broodiness.

    My most reliable momma hens have been Black Australorps. Here's what my favorite reference (http://www.ithaca.edu/staff/jhenderson/chooks/chooks.html) has to say about them:

    great brooder (or annoyingly too frequent brooder); good mother

    Regarding the Dominique:

    good. or frequent, brooder; good mother

    and the Sussex:

    good brooder & mother

    So the chances are decent that you'll have chicken that will decide that she wants to brood. Successful brooding with a hen is a whole challenge of its own, so while you have time read up at http://www.themodernhomestead.us/article/Broody-Hens-2.html
     
  5. aprhardy

    aprhardy Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Dec 3, 2010
    Floyd Va
    Thank you for the links! I will read up on them, and I'm sure be back with more questions!! [​IMG] Thank you!
     
  6. Ariel301

    Ariel301 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 14, 2009
    Kingman Arizona
    I've got a bantam hen that's been doing that for two months. She'll sit on the nest with no eggs, rather than in a nest with eggs. She makes those scary dinosaur noises at me if I reach my hand in with her, but if I fill the feeder or open the gate to the run, she runs out of her nest and won't come back for a few hours. She also doesn't sleep on the nest. I think she wants to be broody but just isn't smart enough to figure it out. [​IMG]
     
  7. aprhardy

    aprhardy Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Dec 3, 2010
    Floyd Va
    ralleia: Thank you for the excellent links! Helped a ton and I bookmarked them both!

    Ariel301: Doesn't it just drive you crazy? Makes me wanna just tie their little hiney's down to the nest! Haha [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
     

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