Will they stop pearching when broody?

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by Christy’s coop, Feb 11, 2019.

  1. Christy’s coop

    Christy’s coop In the Brooder

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    So this spring I'm planning on letting my 1 and 2 year old hens hatch some chicks (non of them have ever hatched any as this is the first time they will be with a cockerel) but my 1 year olds all perch on top of the nesting boxs instead of lying in them when sleeping, but they go to lay there eggs on the floor under the nesting box, so my question is when they become broody will they stop this and go and sit on the eggs? Is there something I can do to stop them doing this without making them uncomfortable? And also do I need to buy any special food/ bedding for the chicks? (Right now we have food pellets which are probably too big for the chicks and hay as bedding)

    Also please feel free to give me any other tips on hatching/ looking after chicks it would be greatly appreciated
     
  2. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Free Ranging

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    You have a few different issues that you've brought up.
    Roosting: If you block off the nests as well as the tops, you may force them to opt to sleep on the roosts (if you have them).

    Laying: You need to make the nests more attractive as a place to lay eggs rather than the space under the nests. Perhaps block off the space below the nests, put a perch in front of the nest so they can peer into the nest before going in and add one or two fake eggs.

    Setting: Not all hens will get the urge to raise a family. Being with a rooster won't make a difference. The hormone change that creates a broody hen has been bred out of most breeds. Even notoriously broody breeds may not become setters. When they do get the urge, they will do so whether a rooster is present or not. Some will sit even if there are no eggs.
    And in the end, a truly broody hen won't roost. She will sit on the eggs around the clock taking about a half hour break (depending on ambient temperature) almost every day to defecate, eat, drink, stretch and dust bathe. If she did leave the eggs to roost and sleep, the embryos will die when they chill.

    Feed: Full length pellets are too big for chicks. But that isn't the biggest problem. If they are all flock pellets (18-20% protein and 1% calcium), that would be acceptable. If they are layer pellets (16% protein and 4% calcium), that is unacceptable for chicks. Chicks are not layers and a steady diet of 4% calcium will destroy their kidneys which will eventually kill them.
     
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2019
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  3. TelfTheElf

    TelfTheElf Songster

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    Well said ChickenCanoe!!
     
  4. Christy’s coop

    Christy’s coop In the Brooder

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    Alright well that's quite a lot to unpack but I'll try my best with the pearching/laying situation but the cool they sleep in is weird and hard to explain but again I'll do my best thank you and as for the food situation should I just buy lots of chick crumb and let them all eat that? As separating the food would be difficult, thanks for the help!
     
  5. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Free Ranging

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    Pictures of your setup will help those here to help you.

    Chick starter crumbles won't hurt the hens. If you have active layers, you'll just need to provide oyster shell or other large particle calcium source in a separate container for the laying birds.

    Separating foods is very difficult. I put chick starter in a feeder under a canopy with very low edges so the chicks could go in to eat in peace. The hens crawled on their bellies to get to it.
     

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