Q's about broody hens.

Chickensrock10110

Songster
10 Years
Feb 10, 2009
113
0
119
Hawaii
I am about to give up on incubators!I first started with very good hatch rates but then the rates started to decline after each batch and now I am hatching close to nothing compared to and average of 80% hatch rates in February.I am startin to get discouraged in using incubators.My friend suggested broody hens.
Thinking to invest on a couple broody hens to grow to use them as mothers for next year.
My question are as followed,

How does the whole process work?

How can I trigger the broody behavior?

How old will they be when they first go broody?

How many times per year will they go broody?

Do I provide a seperate food dish for momma (adult chicken food) and for the chicks (chick starter) ?

Thanks for any answers you give me!
 

Ridgerunner

Crossing the Road
13 Years
Feb 2, 2009
28,901
25,450
977
Southeast Louisiana
How does the whole process work?

When the hormones kick in, the hen stays on the nest day and night, usually getting off the nest only long enough to eat a bite, drink, and go poo. Then they are back on the nest. They stay there until the eggs hatch.

How can I trigger the broody behavior?

Some people claim they can cause a hen to go broody. I never have tried so I don't know. Here is an example.

https://www.backyardchickens.com/forum/viewtopic.php?id=176282

How old will they be when they first go broody?

There is no telling when or if they will go broody. Many strains of some breeds have had the broodiness bred out of them, especially the production breeds. It very much depends on the individual hen. Some go broody three times before they are a year old. Some never go broody.

How many times per year will they go broody?

Again, it depends on the individual hen.

Do I provide a seperate food dish for momma (adult chicken food) and for the chicks (chick starter) ?

You don't have to but you can keep the hen out of the chicks starter if you want. I don't know of any way to keep the chicks out of the hen's food. Use a crate of some type with openings big enough for the chicks to get through but not the hen. 2-1/2" is about right.

Some suggested reading.

How to move a broody hen
https://www.backyardchickens.com/forum/viewtopic.php?id=162759

Break a Broody Thread
https://www.backyardchickens.com/forum/viewtopic.php?pid=2176186#p2176186

Broody Hens Article
http://www.themodernhomestead.us/article/broody-hens-1.html
 

Ravyn

In the Brooder
10 Years
Jun 5, 2009
27
0
22
SW Missouri
Quote:
You can't really trigger a hen to go broody. Some say if you leave a few eggs in a nest box it will make them go broody, but I'm not so sure.

First off you need to get a breed that is known for going broody. Silkies, Cochins and Orpingtons are good broody's and mothers. I use Orpingtons.

My Orpingtons started going broody at around the age of 7 to 8 months after they started laying eggs. Some didn't get broody until a year old and some never went broody at all.

Mine go broody about 2 times a year.

About the food.. Yes, you can put out 2 seperate feeds, but chicks will peck at momma's food and momma will eat the chicks food. It's perfectly ok for this to happen.

One thing to remember is to seperate a hen from the rest of the flock when she becomes broody and you will need to keep her seperated to raise her chicks, unless you are planning to take the chicks from her and raise them yourself or sell.
Hope this helps, Happy Brooding
Robyn
 

Chickensrock10110

Songster
10 Years
Feb 10, 2009
113
0
119
Hawaii
Quote:
You can't really trigger a hen to go broody. Some say if you leave a few eggs in a nest box it will make them go broody, but I'm not so sure.

First off you need to get a breed that is known for going broody. Silkies, Cochins and Orpingtons are good broody's and mothers. I use Orpingtons.

My Orpingtons started going broody at around the age of 7 to 8 months after they started laying eggs. Some didn't get broody until a year old and some never went broody at all.

Mine go broody about 2 times a year.

About the food.. Yes, you can put out 2 seperate feeds, but chicks will peck at momma's food and momma will eat the chicks food. It's perfectly ok for this to happen.

One thing to remember is to seperate a hen from the rest of the flock when she becomes broody and you will need to keep her seperated to raise her chicks, unless you are planning to take the chicks from her and raise them yourself or sell.
Hope this helps, Happy Brooding
Robyn

Hi,

I had a question about your orpingtons,

Is it possible to put bantam eggs under her?
I am planning to buy chicks from a hatchery.
Will hatchery chicks go broody?
One last thing,
I see that you mentioned you have 100+ orpingtons , do you always have a hen that is broody? How many would you reccomend so I can have at least one broody every so often?
( lets say at least 1 or 2 hens that are broody every 3 months or so?)

Of course, I would also be eating their eggs that they lay since I`ve heard that they are also known for egg laying.

Thank you for helping!
 

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