Red's gone broody, or is it the heat? Now what?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by yes2matt, Jul 24, 2010.

  1. yes2matt

    yes2matt Out Of The Brooder

    May 8, 2010
    My fav RIR hen, the smart one who always finds the hole in the fence, has started staying on the nest box for most of the day. I hope so much that she's gone broody, so I don't want to disturb her, but I'm also worried she might be suffering from a side-effect of the obnoxious heat (high 90s for two weeks + ).

    > how should I know whether she's broody or suffering something?
    > does she need special treatment? the water is right there in front of her but she usually has to forage for most of her food - do I need to feed her special?
    > how many eggs can I put under her?
    > is it the same 21-day expectation of hatch as w/ an incubator?
    > will I have to put the chicks in a brooder box or will she raise them?

    Wow so many questions... I always thought it would be nice if a hen went broody but never expected it to happen!!
  2. elmo

    elmo Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 23, 2009
    How does she act when you approach her? Does she hiss, shriek, growl or make any other noises? Does she puff herself up threateningly? These are all signs of broodiness. If your hen does none of this, but sits there listlessly, I'd suspect illness rather than broodiness.

    A broody will often try out sitting in the nest box for a while during the day, but I've read that you can tell they're truly serious about it when they stay in the box all night.

    How many eggs you can put under your broody will depend on her size. If you put too many for her to cover comfortably, the ones on the outside edge can get chilled, and as she shifts the eggs around, all of the eggs end up on the outside edge at some time or another, resulting in the whole clutch not surviving. I raised bantams, so I can't advise you about the proper clutch size for a RIR.

    I'd put a dish of food near her with the water. Broody hens lose a lot of weight anyway since they only get off the nest briefly to eat, drink and poop.

    Usually a hen who goes broody will have the proper instincts to care for her chicks once they've hatched, but not always. Every now and then a hen is such a bad mother you have to take the chicks away and brood them artificially.

    Good luck!
  3. yes2matt

    yes2matt Out Of The Brooder

    May 8, 2010
    Yep, she's broody. YAY!

    I didn't check at night but I'm pretty sure she stayed in the box all night; I put some food up by the box for her, but she actually came "downstairs" this morning for about 5 mins to eat with the other girls; then I saw her head right back upstairs to the box.

    She definitely growls when I open the egg-stealin' door! I went ahead and slid a few more under her; she's got 6 now; I might be greedy and slip 2 more under today. This is so exciting. I have some eggs from two days ago (I only get 3 a day), and they've spent the night in the refridgerator... are they still potentials for hatching or does the fridge "kill" them?

    I have a hunch she'll make a fine mother; some of the others in the coop might be mean to the chicks but I think she's got the attitude and the seniority status to defend them...

    So three weeks from Saturday... this is more fun than waiting for Christmas!!!

    Thanks for the help - I'm a rookie!
  4. Mrs. K

    Mrs. K Chicken Obsessed

    Nov 12, 2009
    western South Dakota
    It is more fun than waiting for Christmas, however, I think it has been the longest three weeks of my life![​IMG] I have two broody bo, sisters that went broody in a day of each other. They have stuck tighter than ticks to their nests, with the patience of Job. [​IMG] Mine should start hatching on Thursday....of course that means I will be looking on WEDNESDAY. [​IMG]

    I have always thought that the fridge was the kiss of death, but on this website, just recently, I read of several successful hatches with eggs that had been in the fridge. No personal experience myself.

    A lot depends on the size of your nesting boxes. Mine are pretty small, and I have never seen more than one hen in one at a time. My other three laying hens are laying in another nest. But several people here have complained that if you leave the broody in the main coop, other hens will get in the nest and lay eggs there. Then you get too many eggs for the hen, and wind up loosing the whole clutch, cause they move the eggs around, and the ones on the edge get too cool. So mark the eggs you want to hatch with a pencil, and don't keep adding eggs, cause the ones added later will hatch later, and the hen will leave them before they are ready.

    Then wait.....and wait......and wait.

  5. airvine

    airvine Out Of The Brooder

    Aug 21, 2009
    northern ireland
    I always put my eggs in the fridge pointy end down - i use coke bottle tops to sit them in - they are good for 10 days
  6. yes2matt

    yes2matt Out Of The Brooder

    May 8, 2010
    [​IMG] "Don't mess; momma's not playin'"
  7. gwill23

    gwill23 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 14, 2010
    Grangeville Idaho
  8. yes2matt

    yes2matt Out Of The Brooder

    May 8, 2010
    Here is the post I used to keep track of my first experience.

    Oh cool. that's great, especially the last picture. Now I am TOO excited and want to check on her again (even tho it's T-20 days).

    AND I just talked to my neighbor and he's so pumped to build a coop for the new babies - I'm gonna get the whole street going begawk!!​

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