Pullet switching nests?

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by yeye5, Apr 21, 2017.

  1. yeye5

    yeye5 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 11, 2016
    North East Florida
    I'm having a happily broody April which is, of course, what happens when I say I'm going to take a break from hatching eggs this month.
    [​IMG]
    ALL first time sitting pullets are keeping me laughing and also puzzling at some of their behavior.
    In my coop (I call The Silkie House) 2 sisters started brooding a fairly large clutch together last Wednesday (4-12). In the same coop Antonia started on another nest Friday (4-14). Since there was no place for any of the other pullets to lay eggs, I created a small area stocked with some fake eggs. Once I was sure Toni was staying on them, I switched the fakes out for real eggs.
    (Just to add humor to the story I'll say that in the coop next door, 2 pullets also decided to share a nest this past Tuesday!)

    My question is about Antonia (Toni). A few days ago, she got up and instead of going back to her own nest, she sat down on the 3rd nest I'd set up so the others had a laying nest. Both times she stayed a long time and adopted the exact same stance and hypnotized look as when she was in her own original nest.
    The 1st time, I gently moved her back to her own nest.
    Today I found her in the egg-laying nest again.
    It's altogether possible that I confused her by putting fake eggs in the new nest but I didn't think it was that easy to confuse a broody. Anyway I decided that she may have been too hot in the nest she started in--it was mostly enclosed.
    So I removed the fake eggs from under her (in the new nest) and moved her eggs in under her. Then I fully removed the old nest she had been in and also removed all the fake eggs from the coop.

    Is this behavior normal? (Her behavior, that is. I already know my behavior is neurotic!) I've never heard of a broody doing this. I hope I did the right thing by moving her eggs with her. Regardless of which way I did it, I know it was taking a chance. But I went with the best guess I could make.

    Can anyone shed any light on this weird pullet behavior?
    Thanks in advance!
     
  2. Chicken Chat

    Chicken Chat Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 19, 2009
    Southern Illinois
    I have witnessed in my own flock, we are talking 6-7 hens all broody at once, a broody who left her nest box for her daily constitutional, rushing back into the coop only to find another broody had claimed her eggs, forcing her to then take another nest. She didn't fight for it, just spotted another clutch of eggs and rushed over to it. A couple days later, she was back on her original nest. When the hormones are up, I'm not sure if they really understand that was "their eggs". They just need to sit on something. Chickens are so funny to watch.
    I have one girl that I can tell when she is about to go broody because she walks around and picks up stuff like small twigs, leaves, straw and such and carefully places them on her back. It's the oddest thing ever. She is the only one that does that. I think the hormones mess with her mind. [​IMG]
     
  3. yeye5

    yeye5 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 11, 2016
    North East Florida
    Thank you for your response. Your chicken that picks up odd things is very funny!
    Toni must have walked past the other nest and saw the eggs and just plopped right down on them. I'd never have guessed!
    Thankfully it seems that this round is still going well! It's given me an important lesson for the next times this happens...not to put too many fake eggs in one place with broodies around!
    Funny thing with Toni is that no one took her nest. She just got spun out and sat on the 1st pile she saw!
    Since the temperatures have been getting hotter and hotter it's probably best that she's on a nest now with more air circulation.
    These girls have sure given me an interesting challenge though...When those eggs start to hatch I'll have to move the moms and chicks into better housing bcs The chicks would be able to jump out by day 2!
     
  4. yeye5

    yeye5 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 11, 2016
    North East Florida
    BTW just for amusement's sake I'll add that the eggs in all of the nests with broodies are not literally "their eggs". I mean that all of the nests contain a mix of mini silkie eggs, medium size lighht brown eggs, small and medium white eggs and jumbo brown eggs.I expected the silkies to be fine brooding eggs from other pullets and hens. The 3 broodies on the 2 nests in the Silkie House are all--go figure--silkies.
    The other coop (I call The Condo) nest has 2 broodies on one nest. One is a tiny silkie pullet and the other is a huge buff Orp! I can't even see the little silkie unless the big Orp gets up!

    Do all broodies sit on all eggs? I had thought certain ones wouldn't brood eggs if they didn't at least look like their own laid eggs.
    In fact in my 3rd coop, if I bring eggs that look like theirs in and place them in a nest the hens up there will break them, whereas they won't break their own.
     
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2017
  5. Chicken Chat

    Chicken Chat Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 19, 2009
    Southern Illinois
    You can give a broody duck eggs and she would sit on them without hesitation. Gotta love the broody, such dedication. I always keep silkies and cochins in my flock for that very purpose. They always want to be mommas.
     
  6. yeye5

    yeye5 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 11, 2016
    North East Florida
    It's one of the many traits I adore about silkies! I just wasn't aware all other breeds would do the same.I had a brief moment of panic when the 3rd nest went into double broody action and then looked at the meager egg stash in my egg cabinet. So since Zuza and Story (the mini silkie and very large buff Orpinton) combined efforts and took a big bunch of eggs to sit on, the momentary insecurity about if another broody suddenly needed eggs what would I do...here is mama wanting to be fair to all of my girls!
    I just finally sat down on my bed with my 3 loving dogs surrounding me after having gone to the cabinet and counted. Since tuesday I have stored 6 silkie eggs and 12 med-large eggs. That's a clutch for two (and if they continue to that hooray!
    I am so proud of my girls!!! You'd think I actually say on eggs myself to get them hatched. It feels like I did, The chicks that'll hatch from these eggs will be the real and truly next generation, Mima and Mun~eco's grandchicks <3
     

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