Two broodies fighting over a clutch?

TJAnonymous

Crowing
Feb 29, 2020
1,358
5,700
351
Central Arkansas
One of my Buff Orpingtons, named Seven (short for "#7 with a side of fries") turned broody at least 5-7 days ago. She has been sitting on a clutch of eggs inside a nesting box in her coop. Her sisters have been laying in the barn (I think) since Seven is occupying their box.

A few days ago, I noticed one of her BO sisters, named Red, has been keeping Seven company. Red sits on the floor right outside the nesting box, a few inches from her sister. I had assumed that Red just really wanted to lay in the box instead of in the barn...

Then this evening, I went to count chickens and make sure everyone was accounted for.... Only to find Red sitting haphazardly on top of Seven who STILL refused to budge.... 😂 When I picked up Red to put her on the roost, I saw two eggs under her which Seven promptly began rolling BACK under her. Red seemed very put out so I took 2 eggs and put them in a different, covered nesting box and tried to put Red on them but she refused to stay... So I ended up giving the two eggs back to Seven who, AGAIN, rolled them under her... Seven is easily sitting on 7-8 eggs, I think, although I didn't want to disturb her to count...

So now what? Lol.... I've never had two broody hens fighting over the same clutch of eggs. What should I do here?

Oh, and just to add... I'm not even 100% sure they are fertilized. I have 1 old rooster and almost 20 hens... I debated candling them and then just decided to wait and see what happens....
 

MrFluffyandGirls

Songster
Dec 30, 2018
931
2,669
191
SC, Low Country
Not sure if this helps but I had two silkies sit on one clutch together and the eggs were not even theirs! I was not sure if the eggs were fertile either and only one hatched about 21 days later and they both sat on the little chick and took turns being mom. I tried to introduce day old chicks to them so they could have more chicks to share but they would not accept them. Sadly after a week the chick just vanished. I have no idea what happened to it or where it went.🤷‍♀️ Maybe you can move the sitting hen to her own box with the eggs and maybe the other chicken will do her own thing.
 

NatJ

Free Ranging
Mar 20, 2017
6,395
12,334
596
USA
I suggest you disturb the hen at least once: take every egg, count them, and label them. Then check again every few days--because if any hen manages to add eggs later, you could have hatched chicks that the mother walks off to take care of, and partly-developed chicks that get chilled because the mother isn't there anymore.

I would come up with a way to separate Seven and her eggs from the rest of the chickens. Whether you let Red share with her if up to you--it might work. Or you could put a dozen fake eggs in another nestbox, stick Red in there every time you see her, and see if she'll settle down there within a few days. (At that point, give her real eggs if you want her to be able to hatch them.)

If you get Red to set in a different box, and if you candle Seven's eggs and find some are more developed than others: you could split the eggs between the two hens, so one hen gets the more developed eggs, and the other gets the less developed ones.
 

TJAnonymous

Crowing
Feb 29, 2020
1,358
5,700
351
Central Arkansas
Thank you.... Those are some great ideas! I do have some fake eggs that I can put out in a nesting box and see if Red will sit on them. I also like the idea of splitting the eggs by development.
 

NatJ

Free Ranging
Mar 20, 2017
6,395
12,334
596
USA
Fake eggs are great for figuring out if a hen will stay where you put her--no chance of them starting to develop, then dying and rotting :lol:
 

TexasTurkeyMama

Songster
Sep 6, 2018
127
291
124
I have never seen cooperative brooding before I opened my bantam "toybox" coop and filled it with silkies and cochins. Last year three broodies sat their clutches in the same nest box. This year we have two broodies who are peacefully (thus far) sitting their clutches in the same nest box. I do not at this time see a reason to split them up. They are in their own snake-proof coop with their own food and water. They have a nice screen door open to give them more light if they take a break off the nests.
 

TJAnonymous

Crowing
Feb 29, 2020
1,358
5,700
351
Central Arkansas
So I put some fake eggs in the covered nesting box. Red would have nothing to do with it.... Then I swapped out the covered nesting box for an open one and set it up right next to Seven... Came back 15 minutes later and found this....

Score!

I'm going to candle Seven's clutch tonight... Fingers crossed that some are fertilized! 🤞
 

Attachments

  • 20200601_200232.jpg
    20200601_200232.jpg
    533.4 KB · Views: 5

TJAnonymous

Crowing
Feb 29, 2020
1,358
5,700
351
Central Arkansas
We candled Seven's clutch. She had 13 eggs underneath her. Not a single one was fertilized... *sad face* Not really surprised though... I'm pretty certain that our rooster is really old and I think he's afraid of my girls. I have some Rhode Island Reds that he might be mating with perhaps.... Is there a way to tell if an egg is fertilized by candling from Day 1 -3 ? Or do you pretty much need to wait until after Day 3 to see anything?

In the meantime, I split the fake eggs between Red and Seven. Each have two fake eggs under them now.

As for the 13 eggs that she was sitting on...I hate to throw them out. Do you think they might be good?
 

TJAnonymous

Crowing
Feb 29, 2020
1,358
5,700
351
Central Arkansas
I guess the good news is that I have 4 young EE roosters who just turned 3 months old. By the end of summer, I shouldn't have to worry about whether eggs are fertilized or not... 🙃
 

New posts New threads Active threads

Top Bottom