Three Broody Hens...

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Claye, Feb 7, 2014.

  1. Claye

    Claye Out Of The Brooder

    Feb 12, 2013
    Brisbane, Australia
    Hey Everyone,

    Usually our silkies are the broody ones and they take turns at sitting on eggs one at a time but these three ladies have been occupying the same tyre we have in their hen house and no one wants to give up their spot! I was just wondering if anyone has had this happen before and if so how there hens went about their mothering roles when the chicks hatch?

    Thanks! :)

  2. Judy

    Judy Chicken Obsessed Staff Member Premium Member

    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    I have had 3 broodies share mothering the chicks, and they did a very good job of it. They were all the same breed, though. Maybe that won't matter, and yours will do fine.

    There is reallly no predicting how this will go, just peoples' experience with the same thing. I hope you will let us know how it comes out!
  3. niamhblond

    niamhblond Out Of The Brooder

    Jan 4, 2014
    South Wales
    Personally I would choose one of them to be the mother , the oldest would be best from my experience . Just collect eggs regularly and throw the other two out twice a day to stretch they're legs (just remember that they do get dead legs and will land with a thump on the floor if you don't put them down nicely ) They'll get over it . Maybe you could separate them from the flock and keep one as back up mother but the rest of the flock will become broody two if they see them doing it constantly . Good Luck !
  4. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    You can get different results with multiple broodies like that. As Flockwatcher said, they often work well together to raise the chicks. You’ll see a lot of threads on here where people just love to see how they work together taking care of the chicks. But occasionally bad things happen.

    People have reported that one hen occasionally kills the chicks that hatch under another hen.

    Sometimes the broodies fight over the eggs or chicks, wanting to take care of them themselves and considering the other broody a threat. Eggs and chicks can get damaged in these fights.

    Often hens will go broody at the same time but on separate nests. My one bad experience with multiple broodies came from that. One hen was broody and setting on 15 eggs. A few days before she was due to hatch, another hen went broody on a different nest. When those chicks internal pipped and started chirping, the second broody fought the first broody for control of the eggs. Seven eggs, all with viable chicks in them, were destroyed.

    I can’t tell you what will happen with your multiple broodies. They are living animals and unpredictable. As I said, many people have been extremely pleased with how their multiple broodies worked together to hatch and raise the chicks. I wouldn’t try it myself but many people do and are very successful.

    You might want to check out this thread on how to break a broody hen. I've always been successful with the raised wire cage method.

    Or you might want to physically separate them and give each their own nest and eggs. I’d make sure they could not physically get to each other though, at least until the hens have imprinted on their own chicks. I really like a hen raising the chicks with the flock for many reasons, but in this case I’d be careful.

    Isolate a Broody? Thread

    Good luck whatever you decide. It’s not always an easy choice.
    2 people like this.
  5. ChickenCurt

    ChickenCurt Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 2, 2014
    This common and all the hens will raise and protect hatchlings the real danger is if they fight for egg possession and start breaking them. If no squabbling is taking place let things be the chicks will be safer with multiple mothers. One other detriment would be if you only have three hens and all three brood is egg production stops.

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