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red sex links as broody hens? And other broody questions...

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by Jster, Nov 6, 2008.

  1. Jster

    Jster Songster

    Dec 11, 2007
    Yay! I'm so excited, I've got a broody!

    It's Mama, appropriately enough, our alpha-chicken and the first to ever lay an egg. She's a little over a year old. She's a red sex link, and often pretty bossy. Very determined, though. So far, we were out of town a couple of days and came back to find her staying in the nest box. I'm ordering her some fertile eggs (we don't have roos) and have a few questions.

    Is there any way to tell if she'll be a good broody? If she'll stick it out?

    Is there some magic time that I have to get the fertile eggs under her (in other words, will she give up on the eggs if she's been broody for, say, 25 days instead of 21 days)?

    When I get the fertile eggs, I'd like to move her and get her established...should I do that at night? The pen we're thinking of isn't very easy to get her into...and we'll probably be using a cat carrier or 5 gallon bucket on its side as a nest box. Basically, I'd have to move her into her nest area with the eggs, then put the small A-frame coop over her nest. Sound feasible?

    Oooohhh, I'm just so excited!

  2. Southernbelle

    Southernbelle Gone Broody

    Mar 17, 2008
    I just went through all this for the first time, too! I had a hard time getting my broody questions answered, so I'll try to help you out.

    You may not have to move her at all, especially if she's high on the pecking order. I had 3 broodies all at once - 2 of them were getting dragged out of the nest by the other hens, so that they could lay in the broody's box. So, I moved those 2 girls to another pen. The 3rd broody no one dares approach, so she is staying in the main pen.

    My broodies are all Silkies, which are well-known for their extreme broodiness, so moving them didn't break their broodiness. Moving them may "break" them of being broody, so I wouldn't move her unless you had to, if you really want her to be broody.

    My nest boxes in the main coop are cat litter boxes and 5 gal buckets on their sides, so I was able to pick up nest and hen and move the whole kit and kaboodle without disturbing her. Broody #2 got distressed anyway and was trying to fly out of her new pen, but once I added Broody #1 to the pen, too, #2 seemed happy to have a buddy nearby and got back on her nest.

    I was kinda hoping Broody #1 would give up at first; she was only 5 months old at the time and I thought she was too young to go the distance, but she sat for 2 1/2 weeks and I started to feel sorry for her. I asked on here what would happen if I gave her eggs at this point? The general consensus was that she would give up after she'd been sitting a total of 21 days. She looked pretty determined and during that 2 1/2 weeks Broody #2 went broody, so I figured if Broody #1 gave up, Broody #2 could finish the job.

    Well Broody #1 just hatched out her eggs today after sitting on that nest for a grand total of 6 1/2 weeks. I gave Broody #2 eggs at the same time as Broody #1 and she hatched all her babies yesterday, she'd been sitting for a total of 4 1/2 weeks. Moral of the story: birds can't count and mine didn't quit until they got their little peepers. Unfortunately, there's no way to tell if she'll go the distance or not. You may want to have a back-up plan if things go bad.

    Broody #3 has been going for 1 1/2-2 weeks now and I ordered some eggs for her, so she's been working on hatching some golf balls.

    I don't even own an incubator and this sping I raised 38 baby chicks in a a basement brooder and my husband still hasn't forgiven me, so I'm thrilled with my broodies. They do ALL the work and I don't have to worry about a thing.

    Congratulations on your first broody girl - I hope you have a great hatch!!!
  3. austinhart123

    austinhart123 Songster

    Mar 12, 2008
    Los Angeles CA
    i wouldnt move her since its her first time......just put the fertile eggs under her at night....and mark them with a pencil incase the other hens decide to lay in her nest u will know which ones are the eggs you order, ive had hens who wont leave the nest until they have they hatch eggs and some who will leave once the 3 weeks is up, it depends on the hen, im sure if the eggs are developing, she will know and set until they hatch, keep us updated with pics, good luck
  4. Jster

    Jster Songster

    Dec 11, 2007
    Thanks for the input southernbelle and austinhart123!

    Part of the reason I'd like to move her is because we have two larger nesting boxes that the chickens view communally, and I'm concerned that she might move around too much or just steal all the eggs. Would taking eggs out from under her daily discourage her? I just thought she might like some peace and quiet.

    As far as a backup plan...don't know. I'm just working on getting eggs.

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