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Where's my hen?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by YooperChickens, May 16, 2016.

  1. YooperChickens

    YooperChickens Out Of The Brooder

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    Oct 11, 2015
    Da Yoop
    Hello all! I have an issue that I'm needing some advice and guidance on. We currently have eight hens and a rooster in our flock. We have two Red Sex Link hens who are very reliable layers. For just about the past three weeks, our egg numbers have been slowly shrinking, to the point where we are getting no eggs at all in the coop. I believe that this is due to the fact that we took the lamp out of the coop that we had in there for our frigid winters. For the past six days, one of our RSL hens has not been coming home to roost at night. The first morning we thought maybe she snuck out of the coop. When she was out again the second morning, we realized she just hadn't come in at night. We saw her those first two mornings anyway. She came and grabbed a quick bite to eat and was off again. Days three and four we didn't see her at all. Days five and six were much like the first two days, just showed up early in the morning for some food and a quick drink and left again. Why is she doing this? Is it possible she's sitting on a nest somewhere? She is a year old this month and has never shown any broody behaviors in the past. We have combed our yard several times trying to find her, and have come upon three different clutches of eggs, ranging from 5-14 eggs per clutch, with no hen to be seen. If she's not sitting on a nest, what is going on? She's weird when she's around us. She normally very friendly and lets us hold her but she won't let us anywhere near her.
     
  2. mustangrooster

    mustangrooster Chillin' With My Peeps

    Hmm. To me it sounds like you have a broody hen.[​IMG]

    Behavior's in a broody hen change very rapidly. Is she clucking like she's very stressed when she comes back to you to eat and drink? Are her feathers all 'puffed' up? I have a broody on a nest now for the second time. She is very edgy when around us and only comes back for a quick drink and some food. The only way to know for sure is to check her waste. Broody hens Poos tend to be much larger than ordinary chicken waste- Trust me you'll find the difference.

    I cant possible think of anything else she might be up to [​IMG]


    Keep us updated!

    -Mustang
     
  3. YooperChickens

    YooperChickens Out Of The Brooder

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    Oct 11, 2015
    Da Yoop
    Mustang, thanks for your reply! Her behavior definitely changed rapidly. I don't know that she was clucking more than normal but I only saw her for a second each time. If she's back tomorrow I'll pay closer attention. She definitely seemed puffier than normal. I don't know that I could get a look at what I knew was for sure her waste because we have no clue where she's hanging out! I do have to say that I saw the LARGEST poo I've ever seen in the yard a couple of days ago. I didn't think anything of it until you mentioned it. I will absolutely keep you updated. Is there anything we should or could be doing in this situation? We've never had a broody before so I'm not sure what to do or what to expect. Thank you!
     
  4. mustangrooster

    mustangrooster Chillin' With My Peeps

    Anytime [​IMG]

    I think you have a broody [​IMG]

    By Clucking I mean making a big fuss over something that seems like its not even there. However she may do this and she may not. If you've seen the largest poo you ever seen well then goodness that must be hers. I think we're both sitting on the edges of our seats right now, I don't even now where my broody's hidden her nest this time round (And I swear I heard baby cheeps over where we think she may be so you can imagine how agitated I am when I cant find her [​IMG]) It seems you don't know where your broody is either! [​IMG]

    You may or may not of known that a hen will take 21 days to hatch her eggs, Usually broody hens hatch their eggs faster than incubators because broody hens are more natural so if your hen is sitting on eggs you should expect them to hatch on day 19 or 20.

    My only advice at the moment is next time you see her observe her. Once she goes back to her nesting spot follow her but don't let her see you. (Secret agent [​IMG][​IMG]) If you find her nesting spot check if shes sitting on eggs if not-Yes if they are desperate for chicks they will sit on nothing (this is if you want her to hatch Chicks) Place some eggs under her. Very likely they will be fertile if they are you eggs because you have a cockerel. Mark the setting date on your calendar and go from there. If she has eggs under her mark the day you found her sitting on eggs on your calendar-You'll have to go from guess the due date from there or try and candle the eggs to see where they're up to. This is done with a light it was done with a candle in the farmers days [​IMG]


    At this stage it is quite set back, No need to worry!

    Good luck! [​IMG]

    -Mustang
     
    Last edited: May 16, 2016
  5. YooperChickens

    YooperChickens Out Of The Brooder

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    Oct 11, 2015
    Da Yoop
    Well Mustang, my husband found our little broody's nesting spot this morning. She has herself quite impressively hidden under some brush down by our pump house. He saw her come up to eat this morning and managed to sneakily follow her back to her nest. We don't know yet if she's sitting on eggs or not. If she comes up again in the morning, one of us will go take a peek while she's away. I'm very excited about the whole thing! If she does hatch chicks out, will she bring them back "home" once they've hatched?

    [​IMG]
     
  6. mustangrooster

    mustangrooster Chillin' With My Peeps

    Funny that, We found our little Broodys nest to. She too, has herself impressively hidden under some spear grass and scrub. Actually Peeping noises were heard from the eggs. A easy way to check if she's on eggs is to slit your hand under and feel around. Be careful not to get 'growled' at, or pecked though! Yes....Yes they can turn to that level of aggression over raising Chicks. Broody hens are the best way to expand your flock so be prepared for some fun [​IMG]

    To answer your question. Yes, She'll bring them home when she feels its right. But once I moved my hen to the safety of our supervision because she was so far out and I would of hated her to of lost her chicks.

    -Mustang
     
  7. YooperChickens

    YooperChickens Out Of The Brooder

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    Oct 11, 2015
    Da Yoop
    I'm so glad to hear that you found her! I am anxious to see if mine has eggs under her. That was my next question, was should we move her? I have no experience with this at all so we're a bit in the dark. I hate to mess with her because she obviously knows what she's doing but I also worry for her safety.
     
  8. mustangrooster

    mustangrooster Chillin' With My Peeps

    I would worry about moving her whilst shes sitting on her eggs. Trust me, Every hen is different when it comes to moving. I tried to move one of my hens whilst she was sitting and she lost it...She quit brooding. Its all about trial and error as they say. If you whish to move her do it once shes hatched. They don't mind then [​IMG]

    Don't worry you'll be fine [​IMG]
     
  9. YooperChickens

    YooperChickens Out Of The Brooder

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    Oct 11, 2015
    Da Yoop
    Hey Mustang, needing your expert advice again. Our broody was initially sitting on 15 eggs. She kicked two out, so down to 13, and then kicked one egg out two more times, leaving her with 11 in the nest. Yesterday around 3pm eastern, we got confirmation that she has hatched one chick. Today is day 25. She is still sitting on eggs, but we can't get a look under her to see if there's more than just the one chick, or if any eggs have any activity. When she stood up to readjust herself, I caught a whiff of some stink; possible rotten eggs? What now?
     
  10. mustangrooster

    mustangrooster Chillin' With My Peeps

    Okay well, the fact that she has been kicking out her eggs in the nest means that there are a few rotten eggs lingering. Yes, It is very possible for rotten eggs to occur on Hatching day (The Eggs could of been 'quitters' meaning they died and rotted in the egg) I know that your hen will put up a fight if you place your hands under her- But if their are rotten eggs there they need to be removed, Explosion of Rotten Eggs is no good. They leave bacteria on the eggs and the nest and leave a no good smell. Definitely not good for hatching baby's!

    As for the chicks hatching if Mama is still sitting on the eggs it means their are more to come. Broodys will sit and wait for the slow hatcher's. Once she moves from the nest to take care of her babies it means she has confirmed no more are hatching. Try and sit down by her nest and listen- See if you can hear any chirps, Keep your eye on Mama if she is making 'reassuring' noises (Often soft clucking or 'talking' to her eggs) That means she is encouraging her Chicks to come out and tell them Mamas here. In fact the hen will do this from day 19 or 18 [​IMG]

    Don't be worried by the fact that' its day 25. All chicks and Mama hens take their time, However if you see no more chicks hatching (I would advise to put some gloves on and check under Broody-That's the best way to know their progress) I would *personally* take the remaining eggs out and press the shell against your ear, See if you can hear anything or feel any movement. If so tap *lightly* against the egg shell with your fingernail-This encourages the chicks to emerge and often results in Cheeping.

    If the remaining eggs haven't hatched within a hour or two (or three, Your choice) You may have to make a 'Pip' with something like a pin by the air sack (The fact end of the shell) but only very gently and make the hole very small (Just tiny otherwise if you make it to big you may start to see blood) . Now...Many people have different opinions on making a Pip but it is day 25 and the chicks should at least be making a Pip or some progress . I have made a small Pip once on a couple of my eggs when they were under Mama and it saved their lives.

    Oh I forgot to mention; Congratulations on Mama and Chick/s! [​IMG]
     

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