What to do with broody hen whose chicks died?

Trish1974

Araucana enthusiast
5 Years
Mar 16, 2016
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North Central IN
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I'm not sure what happened. One of my best broody hens had 5 eggs under her, two fully hatched and one partially hatched then died. The two that fully hatched did so on Tuesday, which happened to be our hottest day of the year. One died that evening, I found the other one dead yesterday evening.

I took her off the nest yesterday evening to remove the dead chick and the two unhatched eggs. She walked around outside all fluffed up in broody mode, clucking like they do. This morning she is still in full broody mode. What happens now that her chicks died? Will her hormones subside over time or do I need to do anything special with her? She needs to get back to eating and a normal life; she is old and when I picked her up she felt very bony.
 

DobieLover

Easily distracted by chickens
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I'm not sure what happened. One of my best broody hens had 5 eggs under her, two fully hatched and one partially hatched then died. The two that fully hatched did so on Tuesday, which happened to be our hottest day of the year. One died that evening, I found the other one dead yesterday evening.

I took her off the nest yesterday evening to remove the dead chick and the two unhatched eggs. She walked around outside all fluffed up in broody mode, clucking like they do. This morning she is still in full broody mode. What happens now that her chicks died? Will her hormones subside over time or do I need to do anything special with her? She needs to get back to eating and a normal life; she is old and when I picked her up she felt very bony.
Can you find her a couple of newly hatched chicks? I'd check the FB poultry pages or CL. Maybe someone has a hen that just hatched a large brood and they would be willing to sell you a couple. Then slip them under her at night. It's worth a try.
 

birdlover2

Crowing
Jan 28, 2019
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I'm not sure what happened. One of my best broody hens had 5 eggs under her, two fully hatched and one partially hatched then died. The two that fully hatched did so on Tuesday, which happened to be our hottest day of the year. One died that evening, I found the other one dead yesterday evening.

I took her off the nest yesterday evening to remove the dead chick and the two unhatched eggs. She walked around outside all fluffed up in broody mode, clucking like they do. This morning she is still in full broody mode. What happens now that her chicks died? Will her hormones subside over time or do I need to do anything special with her? She needs to get back to eating and a normal life; she is old and when I picked her up she felt very bony.
First of all, I'm sorry for your loss of chicks. I don't know that there's much you can do. She may come out of it with time. The best thing to do would probably be buy some hatching eggs and stick those under her. If she's old and weak that is a problem. Keep monitoring her, let us know if anything changes. I don't know any tricks to get hens out of broodiness, but someone has to know.
 

DobieLover

Easily distracted by chickens
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Jul 23, 2018
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First of all, I'm sorry for your loss of chicks. I don't know that there's much you can do. She may come out of it with time. The best thing to do would probably be buy some hatching eggs and stick those under her. If she's old and weak that is a problem. Keep monitoring her, let us know if anything changes. I don't know any tricks to get hens out of broodiness, but someone has to know.
The trick to breaking a broody hen is to crate her with food and water on a wire floor with no bedding and keep lots of air circulating under her.
I suggested grafting chicks to this girl because she's already gone the distance and lost her reward as the poor chicks died. I wouldn't think sending her off on another 3 weeks of setting at her age and in her condition would be a good thing.
If she were mine, I'd be hunting down some newly hatched chicks to try to graft to her and if I couldn't find them, I'd get her in a crate and break her broodiness.
 

Trish1974

Araucana enthusiast
5 Years
Mar 16, 2016
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North Central IN
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Thank you both. I don't want to bring in any new birds (I only raise Araucanas nor do I want an outside line), so getting chicks isn't an option. I would rather break her since she is old and has already sat for 28 days. I didn't know if the broody crate trick would work since she is post-hatch but I am willing to give it a try.
 

birdlover2

Crowing
Jan 28, 2019
630
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Ohio
The trick to breaking a broody hen is to crate her with food and water on a wire floor with no bedding and keep lots of air circulating under her.
I suggested grafting chicks to this girl because she's already gone the distance and lost her reward as the poor chicks died. I wouldn't think sending her off on another 3 weeks of setting at her age and in her condition would be a good thing.
If she were mine, I'd be hunting down some newly hatched chicks to try to graft to her and if I couldn't find them, I'd get her in a crate and break her broodiness.
Yeah, getting her newly hatched chicks does seem like a better solution than giving her eggs to sit on for the condition of this hen. And I'll keep that broodiness breaking trick in mind.
 

centrarchid

Crossing the Road
11 Years
Sep 19, 2009
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Holts Summit, Missouri
When my hens loose a brood, it takes about 3 days for whatever hormone system operating to go back to default setting. Even when the hen looses a brood to a predator attack, it takes about 3 days for normal feeding to resume. Once chicks hatch, it seems to set a timer that goes off if chicks lost prematurely.
 

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