Will a hen go broody on one freshly laid egg?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Kitchenella, Dec 4, 2008.

  1. Kitchenella

    Kitchenella Out Of The Brooder

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    Oct 11, 2008
    Beitar Illit, Israel
    My young hen has been laying for about 8 weeks. Yesterday she spent alot of time in the nesting box after I removed her egg. When I went out to close the coop she was in the box again. Today she was in it for a long time and I was afraid she was bound up. I finally moved her off the nest about 3:30 PM and there was an egg under her. She seemed eager to get back into the nest. I'm wondering if she will lay tomorrow.

    Could this be 'broody' behavior? We dont' have a rooster and I've been taking the eggs out as soon as she announces its presence. Today and yesterday she didn't announce.

    Peggy
     
  2. thechickenchick

    thechickenchick Born city, Living country

    Mar 8, 2008
    Eaton, Colorado
    Thats what it sounds like to me. Thats how my bantam cochin was too. Someone on here told me to check her breast feathers. If she has pulled some out it is a sign she is broody. They do it to keep the eggs warmer. Good luck and keep us posted.
     
  3. Sunny Side Up

    Sunny Side Up Count your many blessings...

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    Mar 12, 2008
    Loxahatchee, Florida
    Bare patches on her breast, on either side of the keel bone, are indications of broodiness. It helps create the moist heat developing eggs need. Other signs of broodiness are spending more time on the nest, especially overnight. They'll also fluff their feathers and sort of "growl" at you when you try to move them. You can also try placing another egg next to her and see if she tucks it underneath her breast.

    Many chicken breeds selectively bred for laying have had their broody instincts bred out of them. So the ones that do go broody have varying degrees of skills and success. Sometimes I've seen hens that start to act a little broody, but are easily persuaded to go back to laying just by putting them up on their roosts at night. Others need to spend 1-5 days in a wire-bottomed cage set up on blocks or sawhorses so they get a breeze up under their breasts, and that will break the spell.

    Or, if your hen shows signs of sticking with the job, if she stays on her nest for several days like a good Mama, you could get some fertile eggs from another source and let her incubate them. It's fun to watch a hen with her chicks.

    Peggy, I see you are in Israel, how are things there? Are you in a rural area, suburb or city? Are there many other chicken-keepers there? Please post more details, & photos if you can!
     
  4. Kitchenella

    Kitchenella Out Of The Brooder

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    Oct 11, 2008
    Beitar Illit, Israel
    Well she is definitely broody. Sitting on an empty nest now for 3 days. Gets out of the coop every morning to dust and stretch her legs and then back to the nest. My other two girls are staying close to her so no one spends much time in the run. Its a shame cause we are having a really beautiful winter. Highs in the 60's and lows in the mid 50's and (unfortunately for the farmers) no rain.

    What would happen if I put a chick in with her? Would that break her broodyness? And does a chicken lay when they are taking care of a young chick?

    I live in a small city of religious Jews just outside Jerusalem. Most of the homes are apartments but many of them have small yards because they buildings are built into the hills. I know a couple other people who have a few birds but no one has a large flock. I had to get rid of my rooster because he was to noisy. I only have one source for feed . I think the feed he carries is for little chicks because it is very fine. There are no ingredients listed on the package. I give them that feed but supplement with grains I get at the health food store , leafy greens and table scraps. Since I don't have a car and deliverys to my city are expensive I'm stuck with what I can get from the one pet shop in the area that delivers free.

    Thats all for now,

    Peggy
     
  5. Mahonri

    Mahonri Urban Desert Chicken Enthusiast Premium Member

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    North Phoenix
    My Coop
    You could let her "set" for a couple of weeks and put some baby chicks under her a night to see if she will raise them.

    If all you are feeding them is chick starter you could find ways to add protein.

    Put yogurt in with it or milk. They will love that.
     
  6. ibpboo

    ibpboo Where Chickens Ride Horses

    Jul 9, 2007
    always changing
    Yes, they will brood on just one egg. It's because you have been collecting them that there are not more. It's more of a timing thing, than how many eggs are actually there, when they go broody. I have two hens that go broody. I do not have fertile eggs, so I just keep collecting them, and the other hens keep laying under the broody hen. It's very hard to break the broodiness, so I just let them be, and they will sit for 2 months or more. They get up every couple weeks and really drink and eat, then go back to the nest. I have gotten fertile eggs from friends and let a broody hen hatch them and raise the chicks. I've also bought baby chicks, then chased her off the nest, replaced the eggs with the chicks, cracked a couple of the shells, and that worked!!
     
  7. Sunny Side Up

    Sunny Side Up Count your many blessings...

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    Mar 12, 2008
    Loxahatchee, Florida
    You could try swapping her eggs with chicks (get at least two or three) and see how well she accepts them. But be ready to brood them yourself if she rejects them. There may be other posts on the forum about how best to get a hen to accept chicks, I'm sure you should do it at night, and yes, it would probably go better if you let her set on eggs for at least a week.

    There's another section of the forum devoted to feeding questions, you could get info about how best to supplement your laying hens' diet if indeed they are getting chick feed. But some layer ration is sold as crumbles, you may already be getting all she needs.

    It sounds like an interesting place to live and to raise chickens! I wish you & your flock the greatest of success.
    [​IMG] Mazel tov! [​IMG]
     
  8. Kev

    Kev Overrun With Chickens

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    Sun City, California
    One easy way to find out if a hen is truly broody is to check on her at night.. if she's on the nest at night, she is. From what you say though, it does sound like she is truly broody.

    Another option is giving her fertile eggs to sit on and hatch, if you can find any.

    If you would rather give her a chick.. you need to wait at least 20 days as broodiness is under control of hormones and it needs to go through a cycle of sorts before she gets ready for 'mother mode' making her more accepting of a chick. You can let her sit longer than this, which is not a problem as long as she can get off the nest and have access to food/water. This hormone stuff is also why she will sit on just one egg(and no rooster).. it's not logic or anything.

    Make sure the chick is less than 2 or 3 days old.. the younger the better. I prefer to slip the chick under a hen right after dark so they have the whole night bonding to each other.. the hen getting used to the sensation and sounds, and also the chick learns the hen is a great source of warmth and cuddling.
     
  9. chickalator

    chickalator Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Senoia Georgia
    i had a 18 week old bantam rir go broody over a single egg last summer.
     
  10. Kitchenella

    Kitchenella Out Of The Brooder

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    Oct 11, 2008
    Beitar Illit, Israel
    Thanks for the suggestions. I do feed them more than just the starter. I supplement with lots of other things. I give them beans. bulgar,oatmeal, barley quinoa etc, soy nuggets. yogurt and leftover fish and chicken. I even got some free fish heads from the fish market and cooked them up for the birds. I also give them chopped vegetables, greens and bananas. I'm sure they are getting a balanced diet.

    I don't have room for more than on more bird so giving her more than one chick is not an option. She is now sitting on an empty nest. The other hens are not old enough to lay as yet so she won't be putting any of their eggs under her. I guess I'll just wait and hope she gets back to normal in a few weeks.

    Peggy
     

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