We have a broody!!!

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by TheAmundsons, Apr 25, 2019.

  1. TheAmundsons

    TheAmundsons Songster

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    This beautiful Salmon Favorelle lady has been sitting for at least 48 hours straight! She’s about 14 months old.

    About a month ago, we were really wanting to try hatching chicks under a broody, but no one wanted to sit. My work schedule changed this week and I’m not able to collect eggs at lunch anymore, so we just collect in the evenings. Yesterday morning when I went to let everyone out to free range, I noticed this girl in the nest box (not uncommon, all of our SFs tend to spend more time in the boxes than the others). Well, every time we went back and checked, she was still there, even when we locked everyone in for the night! She was in there this morning, this after, all evening, and is still in there while everyone else is roosting!

    We are very excited for the potential to hatch (we have 20 chicks coming in the mail next week so we can give her some if none hatch), but we have a few concerns.

    We would love her to actually hatch some chicks, but this evening she was sitting on the eggs that were laid today in a different box. She had been sitting on the eggs laid yesterday, but switched to a different box sometime this afternoon. Is there a way to encourage her to stay in the same box? She was originally in everyone’s favorite box, and is now in favorite box #2. We aren’t sure how many eggs she’s sitting on.

    Concern #2 is that we were planning on moving them to a new coop this weekend. We decided to greatly expand our flock this year (chicken math;)) from 10 chickens and 3 ducks, to add 21 chicks (plus the 4 I “accidentally” picked up at the store :D) and we have an old empty barn that will make the PERFECT coop for a whole bunch of chickens! We really need to move them because the current coop is going to be our brooder for the new chicks. Is this something we should be worried about? We are moving the same nest boxes, they’ll just be in a new barn.

    Any advice/suggestions about anything are welcome! Thanks in advance!

    (I also attached pictures of the chicks that snuck home with me from the store. They were advertised as bantams, and the one is obviously older than the rest, but I’m not sure it’s a bantam because it’s growing much quicker than the others)
     

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  2. chicken heven

    chicken heven Songster

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    Do you have a empty small coop ?
     
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  3. chicken heven

    chicken heven Songster

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    Or a place to keep her by herself.
     
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  4. Xlcandylx

    Xlcandylx Songster

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    Bells texas
    I had a hen sit in one area and refused to move from her area. Gotta watch out for changing location of coop.
     
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  5. TheAmundsons

    TheAmundsons Songster

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    No, but I suppose we could create a little pen in the new barn for her. Do you think she would be okay after being moved to a new location? That’s our biggest concern!
     
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  6. TheAmundsons

    TheAmundsons Songster

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    She won’t have access to the old coop at all once they’re moved. I’m hoping that moving the nest boxes with them will help...we’ll find out!
     
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  7. chicken heven

    chicken heven Songster

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    If so take a inclosed nesting box and put the part that’s open against the wall for a day.
     
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  8. chicken heven

    chicken heven Songster

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    Move her at night when she is a sleep so it won’t stress her out.
     
  9. Xlcandylx

    Xlcandylx Songster

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    I tried to move my girl to a new coop with her eggs and she left those eggs and pased up and down her run wanting back in the old coop. When i moved her eggs back and her back she went to her eggs and kept sitting on them.
     
  10. sylviethecochin

    sylviethecochin Free Ranging

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    Okay. You have chicks arriving in a week.

    You want her to take at least some of those chicks, and hatch some?

    That's highly unlikely to happen:

    First, she needs to get the right hormones to want chicks instead of eggs. That could happen in a week. It has before. But it's a little riskier than waiting, say, two weeks for her to get a little further along in the broody stage.

    Second, if you give her those chicks, and she accepts them, she's going to want to walk away from that nesting box with those chicks. She's not going to stay on a nest with rocks in it when she's got cute, living peeps that need fed. That's just survival of the fittest. So the eggs'll be a week along, and have two weeks to go. They'll die.

    Third, if you let her try and hatch the eggs for three weeks, then give her two-week-old chicks, she's unlikely to accept two-week-old chicks. They aren't as cute as babies. They aren't as fluffy. Most importantly, they have no idea who she is, and are likely to wander away and get lost. They don't know she's Mum. Why would they stick by her?

    My approach would be to put golf balls under her, let her set for a week, then try and give her the chicks. IMO, fake eggs are far easier than letting her set real eggs for a week, then abandon them to die. If she doesn't want the chicks, then give her some fresh, new, fertile eggs and an extra week of setting.

    Issues with your current setup (assuming you want her to hatch eggs and will just brood the mail-order chicks in a brooder):

    You've already encountered this: she can't tell one nesting box from another. Most hens can't tell. I've only ever had nest-box brooding work when there was some sort of marker on the nest box before the hen started brooding. So, assuming you want her to hatch eggs, unless you're willing to run out there every few hours and put the hen on the right box, you'll need to move her. I've had good success putting a hen in a larger cardboard box, at night. I'll put in a rubber pan with her nest, and airholes, food, water. But mostly pretty dark. I'll move the box where I want the hen, and leave her there for a few days, just setting in the dark and quiet. A cattle trailer works well, if you have one. Then I open the top of the box. She'll keep setting. In most cases, if I open the door of the shed/trailer and let her roam free, she'll go right back to the original spot. But if the original spot's not on offer, she's happy to stay on the eggs she has.

    Finally, if you want her to hatch those eggs, you need her to be setting on the same eggs, all of them due to hatch on the same day. Select some nice, clean ones with even shells. Mark your eggs. I like sharpies. Collect extra eggs daily so that she's not incubating eggs due two weeks after the first ones hatch.
     

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