Question about broody hens

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by Don in SC, Aug 14, 2011.

  1. Don in SC

    Don in SC Out Of The Brooder

    79
    0
    29
    Aug 9, 2011
    Mt. Rest
    I have started a small flock of Dominiques for meat and eggs. I'm thinking to replace the meat birds I'd like to continously hatch a small clutch every couple weeks or larger one every month. My question is are there hens that are known to go broody at different times of the year. Lets say breed X goes broody in spring and breed Y goes in summer and breed M goes in the fall kind of type info is what I'm looking for. I know you can't really know for sure when or how often a hen will go broody but I'l curious if adding a few hens from other breeds would be a good way to help the odds of having a hen ready to hatch a clutch at least once every month from spring to fall. I'm looking to get arround having to have a incubator and brood box as you may have already figured out. I don't really want to make the space for them or have to monitor them all the time. Anyone try this kind of approach of keeping an eating flock going?
     
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2011
  2. clatsopduck

    clatsopduck Out Of The Brooder

    19
    0
    22
    Aug 13, 2011
    at my computer
    I've never heard of different breeds brooding at different times of the year - I'd love to hear if anyone has heard differently!
    I've only ever seen hens go broody in the warmer months. I suppose, part of that reason will be the light - they need a minimum number of hours of light in order to lay (not sure what the numbers are) - and therefore aren't able to brood (naturally) in the winter when they don't lay...
    Now, I also know that something as simple as a lightbulb in the chicken house at night (or on a timer, perhaps) can make the hens lay throughout the winter, but this might be stressful on them as they won't get their natural break. I would guess that a hen kept in this way *might* go broody, but somehow I would doubt it.

    My two suggestions: an incubator... or a freezer (for the extra meals generated in the summer months.)
     
  3. Don in SC

    Don in SC Out Of The Brooder

    79
    0
    29
    Aug 9, 2011
    Mt. Rest
    I'd like not to have to freeze a lot of birds in just a few months. I think frozen meat does not taste as well as fresh and it loses nutritional value after awhile. If I can I'd like to be able to only harvest as I need which means ten or so birds a month maturing each month. It may not be posible and freezing them in the fall for the winter maybe my only choice. But the real trick is getting the birds to hatch from spring to fall. I can always just let ten hens hatch in the spring and then harvest as the year goes along but that means feeding a large flock for most of the year. I'm trying to avoid that as well as feed is not all that keep and I've got to many preditors arround to allow them to free range all the day. I'm just thinking about ways to achieve a small flock and be able to harvest birds as needed and replace the same as the year goes along.

    Quote:
     
  4. clatsopduck

    clatsopduck Out Of The Brooder

    19
    0
    22
    Aug 13, 2011
    at my computer
    I wonder if having a variety of breeds might help there too, then. Some breeds mature faster than others. But, as you said, that means feeding more at a time.
    My opinion is that you're going to need to be incubating the eggs yourself if you want an around-the-calendar eating flock. I also think that the light bulb in the winter solution might be an option for you. If you just do that for four or five of your youngest layers, then they only get the extra stress that first year. (Though when I discovered this trick, it was an older bird who took to roosting in our open basement where often the light got left on by one of my brothers...)
    Anyway, good luck in achieving your goal - keep us posted. [​IMG]
     
  5. Gypsy07

    Gypsy07 Chillin' With My Peeps

    2,286
    25
    193
    Feb 4, 2010
    Glasgow, Scotland
    Silkies are continuously broody; they're notorious for it. Maybe get yourself a few of them...
     
  6. magicpigeon

    magicpigeon Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 9, 2010
    Quote:X2 [​IMG]
     
  7. patman75

    patman75 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Quote:X2 [​IMG]

    X3
     
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2011
  8. Hi Don! I think a small flock of Silkies would be a good solution. Or if you don't care for Silkies, my Cochins and Cochin x Silkie crosses are just as prone to be broody.
    Good luck!
    [​IMG]
    Lisa
     
  9. Don in SC

    Don in SC Out Of The Brooder

    79
    0
    29
    Aug 9, 2011
    Mt. Rest
    Thanks guys. Silkies are attractive birds. I had not research them much but will look into them. Any idea how they would fit into a Dominique flock? Or should I consider a seperate pen and coop and just place the Dominique eggs in a nest of a silkie that appears to be broody?
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by