Stray Hen

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by StrayHen, Aug 11, 2018.

  1. StrayHen

    StrayHen In the Brooder

    40
    71
    46
    Aug 11, 2018
    There are lots of stray cats in the neighborhood so we have been leaving out food and water every morning for them. About a year ago, we noticed a stray hen that comes almost everyday to eat and drink too. We didn't think too much of it, and thought that the hen must be from a neighbor's coop and just out adventuring in the day time. One night we heard her making noise around midnight in the backyard so i followed her and she flew up to a neighbor's tree and I couldn't see her after that, since that tree is in a gated front yard. I thought maybe she was out having too much fun and the coop is now closed so she had to sleep outside for a night.

    Fast forward to about a month ago, we found that the hen started laying eggs in our backyard. So each morning she would lay an egg in the same area and in the evening she does not sleep there. We decided to take all but one egg behind each day so that she sees it's still there. So she comes back everyday and lays another.

    3 days ago, we noticed that she's now just laying on top of where she lays the eggs and doesn't seem to have moved at all. I tried to place food and water near by and she does not seem to be eating. Is she trying to hatch eggs? or is she sick and trying to die there?
     
  2. sourland

    sourland Broody Magician

    76,025
    59,008
    1,457
    May 3, 2009
    New Jersey
    :welcome She has gone broody and is trying to hatch chicks.
     
  3. StrayHen

    StrayHen In the Brooder

    40
    71
    46
    Aug 11, 2018
    but it doesn't look like she's eating tho. how long can she go without food?
     
  4. sourland

    sourland Broody Magician

    76,025
    59,008
    1,457
    May 3, 2009
    New Jersey
    Setting or broody hens generally leave the nest once daily to eat, drink, and defecate.
     
  5. StrayHen

    StrayHen In the Brooder

    40
    71
    46
    Aug 11, 2018
    does she get broody because she mated? so does that mean i've been taking eggs that are fertilized?
     
  6. sourland

    sourland Broody Magician

    76,025
    59,008
    1,457
    May 3, 2009
    New Jersey
    If there is a rooster in the area, it is very likely that her eggs are fertile, but a hen will go broody whether or not she has been mated.
     
  7. gator75

    gator75 Songster

    365
    239
    186
    Aug 25, 2012
    Is she sitting on a clutch? Take one and crack it and see if it's fertile.
     
  8. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener Crossing the Road

    27,610
    26,140
    907
    Nov 7, 2012
    CENTRAL MAINE zone 4B
    You can easily check an egg to see if it's fertile when you crack it into a pan. do a google search for fertile chicken egg, and you should find some pics that do a comparison between a fertile egg (blastoderm) vs. infertile egg (blastodisc.)

    Your broody hen is likely to get picked off by a predator if she does not have a secure place to set on her eggs. If you are interested in starting your own flock, you might want to find a source of fertile eggs, and give her a clutch of eggs in a predator and weather proof coop/run set up. In order to be predator proof, her enclosure must not have any openings greater than 1/2" (cover all openings with 1/2" hardware cloth, including a skirt that will keep digging predators out.

    As for a broody leaving the nest daily, some do not. One of my broody hens would easily sit on the nest for up to 3 days at a time, while the other would regularly step off for a moment or two to eat/drink in her broody enclosure. It is not at all necessary to remove a broody from the nest on a daily basis to eat/drink/poo. She knows what she is doing and will leave the nest when she needs to.
     
  9. StrayHen

    StrayHen In the Brooder

    40
    71
    46
    Aug 11, 2018
    I have seen a rooster about 2 years ago that flew into my backyard. But I haven't seen it since. This hen is the only one that comes daily. Everyday I took the eggs I would put them up to the lightbulb and see if they are clear or not. So if the eggs are not fertile, would she give up after a while?
     
  10. StrayHen

    StrayHen In the Brooder

    40
    71
    46
    Aug 11, 2018
    I'm scared to check thinking that I'm eating an unborn chick. But I guess I will check tonight. In the chance that they are fertile, should I put them back with her? (they are in the fridge).
     
    to BarbsGirls, Susan Dye and ronott1 like this.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by: