To encourage a broody hen

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by BLACKCATFARM, Apr 3, 2018.

  1. BLACKCATFARM

    BLACKCATFARM Chirping

    29
    22
    56
    Feb 8, 2018
    I would like to encourage at least one of my hens to go broody! I would like Mama hen to raise some baby chicks. Any ideas? I have added ceramic eggs to a couple of nesting boxes to encourage them to sit. I know that it is still early in the season, do I just need to be patient and wait for nature to take it's course? Oh, my hens are now 2 years old. Thanks for any thoughts!
     
  2. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener Crossing the Road

    27,610
    26,612
    907
    Nov 7, 2012
    CENTRAL MAINE zone 4B
    A lot depends on the breed. Some hens never go broody. Others may go broody, but miss key behavioral instincts to make them successful Mamas. Broodiness is driven entirely by hormones.
     
  3. Gray Farms

    Gray Farms Conserve Heritage Breed Livestock

    8,820
    10,157
    480
    Apr 11, 2016
    NW Missouri
    A dark, secluded nest box on the floor may help. But as lazy gardener stated, it depends on the breed mostly.
     
    BLACKCATFARM likes this.
  4. BLACKCATFARM

    BLACKCATFARM Chirping

    29
    22
    56
    Feb 8, 2018
    THANKS! I'M GOING TO LOOK INTO MAKING AT LEAST HALF OF THE NESTING BOXES A LITTLE DARKER. ANY OTHER IDEAS WOULD BE MUCH APPRECIATED!
     
  5. BoyTheRooster

    BoyTheRooster Songster

    118
    195
    107
    Jan 11, 2018
    Christchurch, New Zealand
    You can't make a hen go broody, they do that in their own time. What breed are your girls?
    Hens also go broody more frequently as they get older (I've found this true anyway) so maybe wait another year or so? If you're desperate for chicks an incubator could be good
     
    Ursuline Chick likes this.
  6. BLACKCATFARM

    BLACKCATFARM Chirping

    29
    22
    56
    Feb 8, 2018
    THANKS FOR YOUR RESPONSE! I HAVE 5 SILVERLACED WYANDOTTES, 4 RHODE ISLANDS AND 5 AMERAUCANAS. THEY ARE 2 YEARS OLD.
     
  7. Exercise gained by scratching in her litter and a really good diet that will encourage her to lay and make your hen think that she has died and gone to mama hen heaven is the only way to encourage a hen to sit. Remember that hens can't count so two or maybe three nest eggs are a plenty. What ever you do collect the eggs daily or if the weather is to hot or cold collect your eggs hourly. Then date each eggs and learn how to store hatching eggs so that you can expect the best hatch possible. When the hen has been setting tightly for a couple of days slip the real hatching eggs under her in the middle of the night and remove any nest eggs or real eggs that you find in the nest. Finally in the dead of night remove the nest, hen, eggs, and all to a nursery pen or coop so that there is no interference with your setting hen from jealous hens. If you do a good job with chicken husbandry you can hatch and raise many more chicks with an incubator or a 'mechanical' hen than you can hatch or raise el natural. However it is much more fun and satisfying to let the hen do it. Gray Farms is on the right track in post #3.
     
    Last edited: Apr 4, 2018
    Ursuline Chick and BLACKCATFARM like this.
  8. sawilliams

    sawilliams Songster

    1,638
    1,657
    241
    Nov 12, 2015
    Nor Cal
    Move most of your fake eggs to one box. 4 to 6 should be enough, they will be inclined to sit on more eggs rather then less. Breed does matter greatly as most feed store bought egg layers are cross breed to increase production but decrease broodyness. But sometimes you get lucky... how old are your hens have any tried to go broody in the past?
     
  9. BLACKCATFARM

    BLACKCATFARM Chirping

    29
    22
    56
    Feb 8, 2018
    THANK YOU ALL FOR THE ENCOURAGEMENT! TO CHICKENGEORGETO; ANYTHING SPECIAL TO THEIR DIET? IT'S COOL AND RAINY HERE NOW IN CA, BUT ONCE IT WARMS UP AGAIN, I HOPE THAT IT WILL ENCOURAGE AT LEAST ONE OF THE HENS!
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by: