Think I can keep her broody?

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by LTygress, Dec 20, 2013.

  1. LTygress

    LTygress Chillin' With My Peeps

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    This poor hen has been through hell. I posted a couple of months ago about how a predator reached into the pen (and around the diagonally-positioned nesting box) to steal her eggs. He got most of them, plus the insides of the last one (left the shell). She tore herself up trying to protect the eggs, as you could see feathers all beside the wiring on the pen (and I later found some fur that she had apparently yanked). But to make it really sad, she continued to sit in the nest box, faithfully incubating.... a single flattened egg shell. And the eggs were due to hatch THAT DAY.

    So I moved her back to the main pen with the other chickens (the main pen has mostly sheet metal siding), and gave her eggs from the incubator, due to hatch in two more days. But she hadn't been in the main pen for about three months, and the others wanted to assert her position in the pecking order again, and drove her out of the nest. The eggs got chilly, so I brought her and the eggs inside into my room. She sat there for two days, and hatched them out. All five successfully hatched.

    Thinking she would be much more aggressive with babies, I snuck her and the nest box back out into the main pen at night. First thing the next morning, everything seemed fine. Three hours later, one baby was completely out of the pen (probably slipped through the lattice gate), another was in the next box chirping for mommy, she was at the side of the pen chirping for the baby outside, one baby was squeezed BEHIND the nest box, and fourth and fifth were laying on the ground, cold, with lots of chickens looking over them with evil stares. All were alive, so I brought them BACK inside again, although I ended up losing one of them that was laying on the ground from internal injuries.

    After a few days, I had reinforced the breeding pen, and put her back in. Everything seemed fine. Eventually I did move them back to the main pen, but the babies kept slipping out and momma would be inside freaking out because she couldn't get to them, so I just let her out and let them free-range. The raccoon that had most likely attacked them, was caught in a live trap, and went into someone's freezer.

    Fast forward to last week. Momma was still not laying or breeding, and still had the babies with her 24/7. But over the past week, they have all come up missing, one at a time (except one that I sold off). Yesterday morning, I went out to find them, and the last one was gone - and mommy was no where to be seen. After a little bit of searching and calling, I caught her moving under some very low brush beside a pine tree. She was alive and seemed fine....

    But I put some food out just past the brush for her, and she limped out to get it. After picking her up and looking her over, she had been attacked by something. One feather on her leg had blood on it, and there was a puncture wound just above her back toe. Whatever took the last baby, had hurt her too, and she wasn't putting any weight on that one leg.

    POOR GIRL HAS BEEN THROUGH HELL!

    So I brought her inside, put her in an old rabbit litter box (low in the front, high in the back) with some bedding, added a tiny food cup and a tiny water cup, and let her rest. Then went back out to feed the others and gather eggs. When I came back in, just on a whim, I put an egg in front of her. She scooped it under her, fluffed her feathers around it, and... then started pecking at me!

    Now if she can stay broody with this egg, that would be an incredibly great thing, because it would keep weight OFF of her leg while it heals! And this is one of my hens that goes broody back-to-back (although she's just a mutt breed) and rarely lays eggs because of it. So I'm HOPING that is the case here. I'm hoping she still has the hormones from taking care of the babies, and will stay on this egg.

    What do you think the chances are that this will last long enough for her to hatch the egg out, AND let her leg heal?
     
  2. foreverlearning

    foreverlearning Chillin' With My Peeps

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    That is a lot for her to go threw and a long time for her to be broody. She seems really determined to have some chicks. If I were you I would add some vitamins to her water to help her keep her health and let her be broody again. Along with the chick feed that she would already have, I would give her some high protein treats (in the feed bowl of course) to help reduce too much weight loss. Also, I would keep her and any chicks in the house long enough for them not to be able to get away from her. Just my two cents. I wish you the best of luck!
     
  3. chickydee64

    chickydee64 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I think she will do fine.........once she gets that chick.she will finish the job.

    Remember......the chickens do not read the books.................[​IMG]
     
  4. LTygress

    LTygress Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I'm actually less worried about the chick being raised properly, and more worried about her HEALING properly. I have the vitamin supplement covered and she's also on antibiotics, since it was an open bite wound. And being indoors, she DEFINITELY gets more than her share of live mealworms! I always treat my temporary-indoor chickens to mealworms, so they get used to me being around them as a good thing. But I'm also about to thin out the mealworm colony, as well as split it up, because they are really growing and reproducing fast now! So she's getting first dibs on those!
     
  5. foreverlearning

    foreverlearning Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Lucky girl! if there wasn't a break then she should heal just fine, if there was a break in the bone I would splint it to be on the safe side. Open wounds seem to be easy for chickens to heal from as long as they don't get an infection.
     

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