Should you stop a hen being broody?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by lilypad, Aug 27, 2013.

  1. lilypad

    lilypad Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hi there!

    In the past I thought if a hen went broody and you had no desire to give them eggs to hatch then you should try to deter the behaviour, but I never had much experience with this as I had only owned ex-battery hens.

    Earlier this year I decided to get some "posh" girls, one being a Goldtop who is a broody madam. I mentioned on another forum that I had been shutting her out of the coop after others had laid (as this was the advice I was given), but I was called by one individual cruel and heartless for doing this. I love my hens dearly and would never be cruel to them, so I let the broody hen "get on with it", it took over two months for her to stop being broody and she was skin and bone after. A few days after that my Welsummer went broody, she's now also been broody for 2 months (I think) and is very skinny, and now my Goldtop has gone broody yet again.

    Should I stop them being broody? If so, how?

    I've read about putting them in a dog cage with nothing on the bottom so they can't make enough heat to sit (or something like that), which would be fine for my Goldtop as she'd sit anywhere, but my Welsummer goes crazy when away from the nestbox and would most likely injure herself if she was shut in a dog cage.

    I've ready about putting ice packs wrapped in towels under the broody hens to cool them off, has anyone tried this?

    Or should I just keep shutting them out after the others have laid?

    Thank you! x
     
  2. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    Break a Broody Thread
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/forum/viewtopic.php?pid=2176186#p2176186

    I don’t know if you’ve seen this thread. It might help you.

    Some hens are a lot easier to break from being broody than others. They go broody because of hormones and a lot of that is hereditary. In some, those hormones barely kick over so they are real easy to break. That’s why some of those methods work sometimes, especially if you get them early. I’ve never had the elevated wire cage method fail, even on the really serious ones. Sometimes it can take several days though.

    I personally think you should break a broody if you are not going to give her chicks or fertile eggs. They typically build up a lot of fat before they go broody as an energy reserve so going broody for a few weeks is not all that hard on them, even though they are not eating all that much. A broody does lose a lot of weight, but that’s fat. No big deal. But eventually that fat reserve runs out and it does become hard on her.
     
  3. appps

    appps Overrun With Chickens

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    I think you have answered your own question. What do YOU think is more cruel, locking a chicken off the nest box or letting her sit till she is skin and bones knowing there is never going to be a hatch to stop her. Personally ill stick with the former :)

    Sometimes you just have to take the information given but then sift through it for that which you think makes the most sense to you. Forums are full of good advice but you also end up with folks from either extreme of thinking and you just have to go with your gut to sort that out.
     
  4. lilypad

    lilypad Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thank you so much!

    I think that was the thread I saw someone link too the other day about using a cage. One thing I'm a little confused about is, if the cage is in the air, the hen wont really be able to stand up will she? Our dog cage has 1x2" gaps I think, don't know if that would work?

    I've popped some cool packs underneath them to see what they think of that! I shove them out twice a day (morning and evening) to make sure they eat and drink, the coop can get quite warm in the sun. But this doesn't stop them at all, very determined girls. I will also start lifting their nestbox up on a night and popping them on a perch.

    If it's not cruel for me to stop the broodiness I'd definitely like to stop it. I'm trying to introduce my chicks to the big girls, but they're so hot headed when they're broody it makes things much more awkward.
     
  5. lilypad

    lilypad Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thank you :) I know, It's hard when you have a split decision, but when someone makes me feel like I'm doing something seriously wrong and cruel I question what I'm doing.

    I do feel a bit mean kicking them off their nest... but they're not getting any chicks so I also feel mean leaving them there haha!
     
  6. appps

    appps Overrun With Chickens

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    Yeah we are in the same boat as we don't have a rooster but our silkie is such a cranky little thing when we lock her off and picks on everyone for a couple of days so we pretty soon stop feeling sorry for her lol. We have found just keeping her off 24hrs a day for 3 days cures her.

    I'd hate to see her starve herself for no reason though so as the saying goes gotta be cruel to be kind :)

    We just do what you do and lock them off the nest so really nothing cruel about it she isn't locked up and has plenty of other friends to take her temper out on ;-) which seems to take her mind off it lol
     
    Last edited: Aug 27, 2013
  7. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    I don’t know how big those gaps really are, but many people would be surprised at how much a chicken’s foot spreads out. I suggest you try it and see how it works.

    I totally agree with what Appps said. You have to make your own decision based on the situation you are faced with.
     
  8. lilypad

    lilypad Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thank you both :)

    Surprisingly my Goldtop (Silkie X) is as calm as can be, actually much calmer when broody! It's the Welsummer who is a big meanie (not to us though). She's the top of the flock but has never really pecked any of the others until she became broody. It's quite sweet seeing them both in the same nestbox though LOL.

    It also causes a problem because even though we have two identical nest boxes (going to be adding a few different ones soon) 3 of them will only use 1. So both the broody hens are in one next box, and when my Cream legbar X wants to lay, she lays on top of them both! Instead of just going to the nestbox right next to them! Chickens eh?[​IMG]

    I'll try icepacks and turfing them out once the others have laid for the next week and see how that goes, if they're still broody I'll try the dog cage :)
     
  9. lilypad

    lilypad Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Just in case anyone wanted to see the state of my cream legbar x laying on the broodies.....


    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]
     
  10. appps

    appps Overrun With Chickens

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    Lol. That's hillarious!!
     

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