what is a "broody" hen?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by birdbrain5, Aug 4, 2010.

  1. birdbrain5

    birdbrain5 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 2, 2010
    I just got chickens, 1 rooster and 4 hens I believe (we'll see) they are still young so you never know! I keep reading the term "broody" hen, and I have no idea what that means. Does that mean when they are laying a nest of eggs? None of mine have layed any eggs yet, but I have only had them not quite a week. How will I know when and if the rooster and one of the hens mate and I could have chicks? Will the hen stay on the nest of more than one egg? I just dont know how I will know when I have regular eggs that I can gather, or when I have an egg that will soon hatch. Also, does a hen with a nest have to be seperated from the other hens and rooster? Any help on this topic would be much appreciated [​IMG]
  2. gryeyes

    gryeyes Covered in Pet Hair & Feathers

    Quote:A broody hen wants to be a mommy and hatch eggs. In this day and age, many breeds have had the "broodiness" bred out of them, because while a pullet or hen is broody, she will not lay any more eggs while she waits for those she's sitting on to hatch. Chicken egg incubation is 21 days. Then, if the eggs hatch, the broody hen still won't lay eggs whilst she's raising the chicks for probably another four to six weeks. More or less. If one is depending upon eggs, this trait must be bred out of the flock. That's why most pullets and hens lay their eggs, then walk away from the nest. No desire to 'set' on a clutch of eggs.

    Some breeds, however, are more prone to having hens go broody.

    Basically, you gather eggs every day. Those are eating eggs. With or without a rooster. Even with a rooster, gather the eggs every day if you wish to eat them. There is no difference in taste or nutrition between unfertilized or fertilized eggs. If you want to raise chicks, you have to have fertilized eggs. And they have to be incubated either naturally under a broody hen, or artificially in an incubator. Fertilized eggs will NOT grow chicks without incubation; embryos will NOT form in them unless the eggs are incubated.

    You may or may not see the rooster do the deed, as the mating act with chickens lasts literally seconds.

    Hope this has been helpful!

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