To brood or not to brood....

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by meezermom, Dec 14, 2009.

  1. meezermom

    meezermom Out Of The Brooder

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    My blue Orpington hen has gone broody...sigh...much earlier than I wanted. The rooster I had planned to breed her to wasn't to be here till the summer.
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    So now to decide if I want the roo here early, and will she be bred then or continue to brood, or should I order eggs for her to brood....I'm so undecided!
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    Any thoughts or opinions or info would be appriciated!!!
     
  2. lauralou

    lauralou Chillin' With My Peeps

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    If your hen is already broody, it's doubtful that you will get any fertile eggs from her, even if you do get the rooster ASAP. A broody hen stops laying eggs when she starts sitting.

    However, if you go ahead and get the rooster, that will give you plenty of time to quarantine him before she goes broody again. I used to have a buff orp hen that would go broody on and off all winter long. But the rest of my broodies generally don't try to brood in the winter. They start up in March/April. I'm sure that every hen is different.

    You could always try and get some fertile eggs for her to sit on. In fact, that's a good idea. If you could get eggs from the person you were thinking of getting the roo from, you would be almost guaranteed to get some roos out of the hatch, then you wouldn't have to worry about quarantining the rooster. I think that hatching eggs is generally safer than bringing a new adult into the flock.

    Whichever way you decide to go with it, good luck!
     
  3. JestersEye

    JestersEye Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Just out of curiosity...

    Do hens have to (or tend to) wait a certain amount of time before they go broody again, say after hatching out a clutch of chicks?

    I was wondering if they can only expend that much energy in specific intervals, or so many times a year, etc.
     
  4. lauralou

    lauralou Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My hens seem to have a specific schedule.

    They go broody. If I don't want chicks, and decide to break them of their broodiness, that takes a few days. After they are broken, they wait about a week to start laying eggs, then lay for about a month, then go broody again.

    If I let them hatch eggs, obviously they sit on the eggs for 3 weeks. Then the chicks hatch, and they mother them for 4 to 8 weeks, depending on the hen. At that time, they start laying again. They lay for 2 weeks to a month, then go broody again.

    Once again, it depends on the hen. Also on the time of year, as I am learning. I hatched eggs late in the year this year, and the hens are still with their "chicks". One set is twelve weeks old! Still being babied by momma. I think it's because those particular hens aren't winter layers, so they aren't feeling the need to lay any more eggs. No egglaying equals no broodiness.

    I expect that they will start laying again in mid-February, as they have done in the past. They will probably be done with their babies at that time, lay eggs for a few weeks, and go broody. That's just speculation, of course. I'm actually surprised that they haven't weaned the chicks already.

    My hens are tremendously, chronicly broody, though. I've heard of hens that only try to brood once or twice a year. At my place it runs nonstop from March till they stop laying for the winter. I have three hens with chicks right now. Two of them have hatched out 3 sets of chicks apiece this year. I don't recall breaking either of those hens of broodiness. I believe that I gave them eggs every time they went broody. So, they can successfully raise 3 sets of chicks per year, without any problem. Both are big, healthy girls. And fabulous mothers, which is why they got eggs so often...
     
  5. meezermom

    meezermom Out Of The Brooder

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    Jan 23, 2009
    Roy WA
    Lauralou;

    When you break a broody do you use the cage method? I have a wire dog crate I am thinking of using - it is a good size for my large hens.

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  6. lauralou

    lauralou Chillin' With My Peeps

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    That's exactly what I do. I put them in the cage with food and water, and I don't let them out until they stop acting broody. Which usually means puffing up and puck-puck-pucking at me every time I walk by. It generally takes about three days.

    My cages have roosts in them, and are on legs so that poop can fall through the wire bottoms. If I didn't have a setup like that, I guess I'd have to take the hen out and clean the cage up periodically. As long as she goes right back in, it shouldn't be a problem.
     

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