Seasons & Hen 'hormone' ?s

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by NewGuineaChooks, Jan 26, 2008.

  1. NewGuineaChooks

    NewGuineaChooks Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Aug 24, 2007
    San Antonio, Texas
    My mother lives in a tropical country on the equator. She has a couple chickens now, and has had chickens on and off for the last 25 years, both where she is, and in Texas. Here in the land of winter & summer, we assume that a hen is -more- likely to go broody in spring/summer, than in winter. We also talk about it being their 'hormones' that trigger the broodiness. The following is an interesting email from my Mother;

    ".... Heti the hen is indeed laying eggs! She has been hiding them so well ..... We found her nest under the veranda of the storage building. So far there are eight little eggs (we can see them through the cracks of the veranda decking). So here is a question for you, Maureen: on your chicken website, did anyone have information on what makes a hen go broody? [the native people] say that it is definitely the number of eggs - if it gets up to a dozen or more, she will start sitting on them. Is this true? I thought it was a seasonal thing!"

    Does anyone know specific research on the trigger(s) needed for broodiness? What -is- bred 'out' of Leghorns, for example, that makes them 'non-broody' types? Neither my mother nor I have any chicken books...just hands on experience, so we haven't any idea about this.... but it -does- seem random, in that country, as to when a hen hatches a set of eggs.
     
    Last edited: Jan 26, 2008
  2. Redfeathers

    Redfeathers Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 11, 2007
    Gervais OR
    I have no idea, but thought I would bump this up so maybe someone can help answer your question
     
  3. Charlie Chicken

    Charlie Chicken Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Broodiness is an inherited and instinctive behavior. Some breeds and some strains within breeds and some hens within a strain will exhibit the tendency more than others. Some hens will constantly try to hatch and others may never do so.

    Most hens will select the summer months to go broody just because it is a natural instinctive time for them to reproduce.

    When we speak of broodiness being "bred out" of Leghorns and other commercial breeds it means that they have been selected for their tendency not to go broody. Commercial breeding farms that produce chickens for the large egg laying operations will quickly cull any hen that goes broody. Any hen that goes broody will not be allowed to reproduce. After many generation and many years this selective breeding has resulted in commercial strains of chickens that almost never go broody thus the broodiness has been "bred out".
     
  4. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD Premium Member

    Yep, and it is my opinion that it is totally hormonal, as I've had a broody pop up in the middle of summer, and in the dead of winter, trying to hatch out grass from an empty nest.
     
  5. Charlie Chicken

    Charlie Chicken Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Yea, its amazing how some chickens will sit there for weeks hatching a nest full of nothing!
     
  6. Tuffoldhen

    Tuffoldhen Flock Mistress

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    I agree 100%...I had a buff orp that sat on air for 45 days til I gave her a clutch of eggs....after she had a hatch she never went broody again all summer....its an internal homonal thing with some breeds of hens...a clock ticking....!!
     
  7. NewGuineaChooks

    NewGuineaChooks Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Aug 24, 2007
    San Antonio, Texas
    Thanks for the ideas! I'll pass your thoughts on to my mother.
     
  8. Kaneke

    Kaneke Chillin' With My Peeps

    not truly tropical here, technically we are SUBtropical (Hawaii) but humans here think it's winter (everyone is using blankets at night, it's raining, and most plumerias are leafless); yet I have a broody buff-ish "Hawaiian chicken" ... mutt with some game or jungle fowl ancestry ... who didn't go broody until she had NINETEEN eggs in the nest (by my calculations it's Day 6)

    all-black standard (whazzit) hen has already laid nine eggs, has not gone broody yet

    one hen or another laid 14 eggs in one nest but either quit or was caught by feral cats, I watched for a week and no hen laid any more there, nor sat on them ... five more eggs nearby but they failed the "float test" so I tossed them into the weeds next door

    ?silver? bantam "mutt" hen hid her nest so successfully that I never found it until she appeared with nine little fluffy-butts on January 17th ... don't know if they'd hatched that day or a day two before

    so I think the "dozen" eggs before going broody may be a tropical legend ... take with grain of sea salt ...

    if she's that close to the equator, though, there may not be enough difference in the length of the days for chickens to differentiate the seasons, unless there is a big difference in the weather (moisture, cloudiness, etc)

    just my opinion, though

    Candy
     

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