What exactly IS Broody/broodiness?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by AccioSarah, Aug 8, 2010.

  1. AccioSarah

    AccioSarah Songster

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    I've heard the term quite a lot, and I assume it has to do with caring for eggs before and after they hatch... but I don't really understand it.
    Do they stop laying when they are "broody?" Does it make them meaner? Will they go broody on their own- do I want them too?

    Thanks!
     
  2. PippyChicken

    PippyChicken Songster

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    Quote:Broody-Hens sit on eggs until they hatch. They will care for them until they get big and no longer need their Mom's

    They do stop laying when they are broddy and when they go unbroody(when the chicks get big enough to care for themselves) they will tka eup to 6 weeks to start laying again(or so I've heard) haha

    It makes them mean when the chicks hatch and they don't want you messing with them.

    They will go broody on their on. It's okay if you want baby chicks.

    Hope this helps!!! [​IMG]
     
  3. AccioSarah

    AccioSarah Songster

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    So it sounds to me like they would really need a rooster around to have any reason to go broody... I don't have a rooster- so I probably won't have any broody hens!

    Thanks! Your post did help!
    [​IMG]
     
  4. Year of the Rooster

    Year of the Rooster Sebright Savvy

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    The presence of a rooster has no effect on whether or not a hen will go broody. Some breeds brood more than others and the same thing goes for individuals. You will need a rooster for the fertile eggs, but not to make a hen brood.
     
  5. thegoldengirls

    thegoldengirls Songster

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    Don't be fooled. You don't need a rooster for a hen to go broody.
    I have had my girls over a year, and never had a rooster.. and yet, I have one that has gone broody twice in the past week.
    I caught here again this afternoon. All the girls were ready at the gate to go out for their afternoon excursion and one was missing. Sure enough, she was in the nesting box sitting on all their eggs. Makes me kinda wish I had fertile eggs to put under her.
    I left her alone, and about an hour later she realized she was alone and left the box. When I let her out with the rest, I went in and took the eggs out.
    She's over it now, but I'm sure she'll try again.
     
  6. PippyChicken

    PippyChicken Songster

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    They'll go broody without a rooster but you need a rooster if you want baby chicks [​IMG]
     
  7. gryeyes

    gryeyes Covered in Pet Hair & Feathers

    Quote:Some breeds have more propensity towards broodiness than others; most layer breeds have had the broodiness bred out of them, because it interferes with egg production. It's a hormonal thing, solely dependent upon the hen/pullet, has nothing to do with a rooster at all. Check this chart to see which breeds are, or are not, likely to go broody (if you're interested). That chart has a LOT of information on it, not just broodiness. I keep it very handy, myself.
    http://www.ithaca.edu/staff/jhenderson/chooks/chooks.html

    When a hen/pullet goes "broody," she sets on eggs and doesn't get off the nest except for once or twice a day, to get some food and to poop. (Broody poop is awful - huge and very smelly!) She will make a chittering, warning sound if you try to take her eggs, and fluff her feathers up a great deal, puffing way up. She will peck at your hand, too. This will go on for the entire incubation period, 21 days or so, until some or all of the eggs hatch. Then she'll be a mommy, and a fierce mommy that will protect her new chicks even more than she did when she was just setting on eggs.

    If the eggs were not fertilized, then you need to remove them despite her wishes, because unfertilized eggs won't do diddly under a chicken except go bad. Broody hens can go broody WITHOUT eggs, too! Some will try to hatch the golf balls folks use to help train pullets to know where to lay their eggs.

    Hope this has helped explain it some. [​IMG]
     
  8. birdbrain5

    birdbrain5 Songster

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    not to take over this thread, but i am also a noob and all this talk of broody hens and fertile and unfertile eggs has me very confused!!
    so i have 5 chickens, one is a rooster for sure. (he crowed this morning for the first time!![​IMG])and 3 reds i am waiting to find out what they are (younger than my hen and roo). my goal is to have one, mayyybe two roosters if everyone plays nice. i think i will get up to 5-6 hens if i can. first off, is this an ok ratio?
    secondly, i would be happy to have baby chicks in the future. if a hen goes broody, she will lay multiple eggs and sit on them so i will know those are fertile? if she does this, do i move her and her nest to a seperate pen so she wont be bothered by the other hens and roo's? also, once the chicks hatch do i need to move them bc of the others? especially the roosters?
    no one has started laying yet, and i dont expect the younger 3 for quite a while, but my one hen came with her roo, and i would imagine she is about to start laying sometime soon. she is a cochin. is this a broody breed? so if i find a single egg in the box, i can assume it is to be eaten, and if i find a nest of eggs, i should assume they are fertile and leave them there?

    sorry- i must sound silly. i just dont want to be taking eggs out of there that are fertile, or leave eggs that are not so they go bad.
    [​IMG]
     
  9. Year of the Rooster

    Year of the Rooster Sebright Savvy

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    Quote:First, no, that is not a good rooster to hen ratio. I would only have 1 rooster with that small of a flock.
    Second, a hen will sit on fertile an non-fertile eggs. She can't tell the difference, an egg is an egg to her, but you can candle them (place a bright light, usually a flashlight, under the egg.) and after several days, if there are veins then the egg is fertile and growing.
    Third, yes move the nest to a safe place where she won't be disturbed by the other chickens. Some flocks are ok with the hen and her chicks mingling but not all are tolerant. Some roosters will father the chicks, some won't; depends on your birds.
    Fourth, yes Cochins are a very broody breed.
    And Fifth, a hen only lays one egg at a time. She doesn't lay a whole bunch in one day, then go broody. It's not like they lay particular eggs to be eaten and ones to be hatched. They are either fertile or non-fertile and you do what you want with them. You can either collect the eggs, then put them all under her when she decides to brood or leave the eggs in the nest box to help her get the idea.

    I hope that answered most of your questions [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2010
  10. birdbrain5

    birdbrain5 Songster

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    thanks!
    one more question though! if she lays an egg, then leaves the nest, should i take it out so it doesnt go bad? or if i take them out as you said, what do i do with them in the meantime if i decide to put them back under her? i dont have an incubator..
     

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