Will my broody hen die?

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by Hopalong, Jun 7, 2011.

  1. Hopalong

    Hopalong Out Of The Brooder

    19
    0
    22
    May 6, 2011
    She is SO intent!

    Will not drink

    Will not eat

    Haven't seen evidence of broody poo

    Is there anything I can do for her? She is a BO, not sure her age, but probably under 2 years. I have some eggs coming for her to set, but I really am worried that she won't make it. I have her box set up in a wire dog crate, her own water and feed, and have tried to entice her with strawberries, cicadas and other yummies. She won't even drink after I have dropped water onto her beak. I shoosh her out of her box in the morning and leave her in the stall. She just lays where I set her down, but when I come back in 10 or 15 minutes, there she is, back on the nest. Will she be ok?
     
  2. Hopalong

    Hopalong Out Of The Brooder

    19
    0
    22
    May 6, 2011
    Does anyone have a suggestion?
     
  3. Barrdwing

    Barrdwing Chillin' With My Peeps

    It's always worrisome when a broody hen does this; one of my bantam Cochins did it on her first clutch. With her, I took some chick starter, soaked it with water to make mush, then formed some mush into a pea-sized pellet and poked it into the back of her beak. (Aim towards the side of the throat--the windpipe is dead center.) I had to do this a few times before she came out of her trance, nibbled her beak a few times, and realized that the mush tasted good. I gave her more mush on the lid of a mustard jar and left her alone; an hour later she had eaten half of it. She started pooping the next day, which was also good--poo is not meant to stay in the body for prolonged periods of time. A critter that isn't eating often won't poop: nothing in, nothing out. Getting them to eat will stimulate the gut to move things along.

    If you open a hen's beak and she has strings of saliva hanging down from the roof of her mouth, she's dehydrated and needs water. Likewise, if the skin between her shoulder blades looks papery and white, she's dehydrated (it can be hard to see the skin--you have to look for one of the strips of skin that don't have any feathers). When in doubt, take an eyedropper or a small syringe and load it with water, then apply it drop by drop to the beak along the side. Often it will seep into her mouth and you'll see her swallow. It's a slow process, but she should drink at least a teaspoon (5cc) before you quit. Mush has a lot of water in it, so if you can get her to eat that, it will help.

    If it's really hot, she will dehydrate a lot faster; dehydration is a bigger danger to a broody hen than starvation. However, if she's a skinny hen or has a pale comb, she may be sick, and going broody when you're sick is a recipe for disaster. I've dewormed broody hens, and dusted them for mites: parasites just love a broody hen. But get her rehydrated first, because deworming can be dangerous in a dehydrated bird, and it's also better if she's eating first (so she'll poop out those worms).

    Good luck! [​IMG]
     
  4. Hopalong

    Hopalong Out Of The Brooder

    19
    0
    22
    May 6, 2011
    Quote:That's it exactly! She is like a chicken zombie. If she were a human I'd head smack her.

    Thanks, I will try giving her some water and some mash.
     
  5. karimw

    karimw Chillin' With My Peeps

    2,464
    35
    188
    Apr 7, 2010
    Eastern IA
    I've very determined broodies too - One has been sitting for 6 weeks now [​IMG] She may be taking better care of herself than you know but I give mine dry cat food as a high protein treat to make sure they don't get too run down.
     
  6. ICallMyselfCherie'

    ICallMyselfCherie' Chillin' With My Peeps

    Yep, like karimw, I've had very stubborn broodies. I don't think I've had one as determined as Barrdwing's, but I've delt with the "sitting where you set her" and not moving thing, not pooping for long periods, etc. I have a feeling that she will eat if she gets hungry enough, though. But I think Barrdwing gave some great advice for a dire situation . . . I might have to use some of that info in the future, myself! [​IMG]

    Oh, and Hopalong, did you say cicadas? As in the insect? I used to chase those as a kid -- those things are danged hard to catch! [​IMG]
     
  7. Hopalong

    Hopalong Out Of The Brooder

    19
    0
    22
    May 6, 2011
    ICallMyselfCherie' :

    Oh, and Hopalong, did you say cicadas? As in the insect? I used to chase those as a kid -- those things are danged hard to catch! [​IMG]

    They love my apple and peach trees, and well, I don't love them loving them [​IMG]. They HAVE to go!​
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by