Should I leave my broody hen in coop w/other hens

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by KiereeAngel86, Jun 9, 2009.

  1. KiereeAngel86

    KiereeAngel86 Chirping

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    Mar 14, 2009
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    Hi everyone, This is my first year for raising chickens and all my girls just turned a year old. I went to collect eggs yesterday and one of my RIR hens bit the heck out of me when I went to take the eggs from her. I kinda figured she went broody and just checked on her throughout the day and sure enough she hasn't left the nest. I was wondering if I should leave her in there to sit the eggs and if so, how do I keep the other girls from laying more eggs in the nest when she is up eating.

    Thanks
    Kelly:D
     
  2. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Free Ranging

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    You've asked an interesting question and are liable to get different opinions. Many people do this many different ways.

    First, assuming you decide to leave the hen where she is. You cannot stop the other hens from laying in the nest, even if she is still on it. You'll probably find they think it is a great place to lay more eggs. If you leave her there, you need to mark the eggs, a black magic marker works great, and remove any freshly laid eggs daily. Flat out. Period. If you leave her there, you have to do this. Bad things happen if you don't.

    There are some good reasons for isolating a broody so the other hens cannot lay eggs in her nest. I'll include some links discussing this. I like to keep the isolation pen with the rest of the flock so the hen has llittle trouble with integration when it is time to rejoin the flock.

    https://www.backyardchickens.com/forum/viewtopic.php?id=162759

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

    Good luck!
     
  3. KiereeAngel86

    KiereeAngel86 Chirping

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    Thank you very much for the info! :OD
     
  4. nieceharr

    nieceharr In the Brooder

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    Hi,

    I'm new at this as well. My chickens are 15 months old and I believe that one of my Buff Orphingtons is broody. I noticed several days ago that she would not leave the nesting box for the entire day and when I went near it to gather other eggs, she growled at me. But she did roost with the others that night. Yesterday the same thing happened, but she stayed put in the box all night and is still there now.

    I feel stupid to ask these questions, but what should I expect next? What should I do next - let nature take its course? I've never hatched eggs before (my chickens were purchased as day-old chicks).

    Is she broody? What, if anything, should I do if/when they hatch? I would like to keep things as "natural" as possible, and don't want to interfere with nature if I don't have to. If I take the chicks away from her, won't she be upset? If I don't, how would I feed them - make a box so that only they can get into it?

    Thanks.
     
  5. nieceharr

    nieceharr In the Brooder

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    Quote:What would happen if I didn't get to mark them? [​IMG]
     
  6. KiereeAngel86

    KiereeAngel86 Chirping

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    Well I just marked the ones she has under her and will check daily for new ones. I think I have another one going broody too which doesn't hurt my feelings because i have so many eggs in my fridge, I won't run out for 6 weeks,lol.
     
  7. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Free Ranging

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    Quote:Eggs take about 21 days to hatch. They need to stay warm. Yes, they will cool a little when the hen gets off to eat, drink, and poo, but not severely. Nature planned for this little bit of cooling. If the other hens continue to lay in the nest, you will have eggs that will not hatch as the hen will hatch her original eggs, then leave the nest, leaving partially developed eggs behind. Not a good situation.

    If the other hens continue to lay eggs and they are left in the nest, the hen can get more than she can cover. Then a partially developed egg cools off and the chick inside dies because the hen could not keep it warm. Then that egg gets taken back under the hen and another partially developed egg is displaced out where it cools off and the chick inside dies. You often get poor hatches if you have too many eggs for the hen to adequately handle.

    I believe these are the two main reasons.
     
  8. nieceharr

    nieceharr In the Brooder

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    That makes a lot of sense. Thanks. I keep checking to catch a time when she is off the nest...

    I have no idea how many eggs are under her. There is no way I am sticking my hand in that box! In general, what percentage of eggs usually hatch?

    How many eggs would be too much for a Buff Orphington to cover? It's too late now if there are too many, as I didn't get to mark them first. The other day, she seemed to start to go broody, but then went onto the perch with the others that night. There were 6 eggs then. It had only been from that day. Should I have just left them?

    Sorry to sound so ignorant. This is all so new (and exciting) to me!
     
  9. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Free Ranging

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    Never feel bad about asking a question. We all have things we are ignorant of. Ignorant just means we don't know yet.

    There is no way I am sticking my hand in that box!

    Their pecking can hurt, but if you wear heavy gloves, say those leather work gloves, you can check. When I was a boy on the farm, one of my chores was to gather the eggs around 5:00 p.m. If we had a broody, I'd pick her up, toss her out the hen house door, and check for fresh eggs. She would usually use the opportunity for food, water, and a poo. Some of them did not like it and I did not have heavy gloves. It was just something I had to do.

    In general, what percentage of eggs usually hatch?

    I can't answer it varies so much.

    How many eggs would be too much for a Buff Orphington to cover?

    They are big birds. I'd think they can handle several more than that but if you stick with 12, you'll be very safe.

    It's too late now if there are too many, as I didn't get to mark them first. The other day, she seemed to start to go broody, but then went onto the perch with the others that night. There were 6 eggs then. It had only been from that day. Should I have just left them?

    I suggest collecting the eggs every day, then when one goes broody, mark the eggs you want her to hatch and put them under her after you are sure she is broody. That way they all start at the same time. Put golf balls or plastic eggs in the nest for a couple of days and see if she will stay on them. Even better, if your set-up allows, is to set up a broody pen for her, where she is locked in with the fake eggs away from the other hens, but has enough room for her own water, food, and room to get off the nest and go poo. Then after you see she is truly broody, you can give her the real eggs. As it is now, I'd probably mark the eggs now under her and collect any fresh ones. You could collect some fresh eggs, mark them and put them under her while tossing all the old eggs now under her, but I think I'd just leave the eggs she already has.
     
  10. nieceharr

    nieceharr In the Brooder

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    Thank you so much!! [​IMG]
     

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