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#13942 - 07/23/02 09:55 PM broody hen
Anonymous
Unregistered


Help! one of my Orpington hens has been setting on her nest for the last 4 weeks, we do not have a rooster and sometimes there are no eggs under her, but she steals the eggs from the other hens and rolls them under her. She only gets off the nest if I physically remove her and I am having to hand feed her, even at that she has lost a considerable amount of weight. As soon as she is out of my sight, she sneaks back onto the nest. How do I "break her" of this?

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#13943 - 07/24/02 03:11 AM Re: broody hen
Big Boy Offline
Ruler of the Roost

Registered: 07/17/02
Posts: 845
Loc: Kansas
I put hens, that I don't want to be broody, into a shaded 2x2x1-1/2' wire cage suspended four feet from the ground with just water for two-three days and it usually works. Some folk say that putting ice-cubes under the broody hen works but I haven't tried it.

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#13944 - 07/24/02 06:27 AM Re: broody hen
Oatman99 Offline
Bantam

Registered: 07/21/02
Posts: 49
Loc: Wisconsin
I had a hen like this. She tried to hatch 2 consecutive batches of duck eggs (unsuccessful) for about 10 weeks, then I took the eggs away, and she still sat there on an empty nest. I thought she'd "get over it" (being broody) on her own, but she never did, so I took her out of the nesting box and put her outside and closed the door. After several attempts to get back by her beloved nest, she finally gave up and started scratching around and "dirt-balling". That night she went back on the roost with the rest of her "friends". This worked (obviously) for me, so maybe it will for you. If not, I'm sure other people have had experiences with this too.

Oatman_99

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#13945 - 07/24/02 10:19 AM Re: broody hen
Sunni Ten Offline
Flock Leader

Registered: 07/16/02
Posts: 341
Loc: Colorado
laugh I have 14 hens and 3 of them are currently broody. I just let nature take its course and let them be broody. Sometimes they are broody for several months.

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#13946 - 07/24/02 07:30 PM Re: broody hen
CJR Online   content
Coop Master

Registered: 07/16/02
Posts: 8483
Loc: Montana
If you really want to interrupt a setting hen, remember that this is a natural rhythm for a hen and any "breaking" of it is a jolt to their systems. Hanging in a wire cage is a standard remedy. But truly, what you are doing, is separating her from her nest, which is a part of the whole process. All you need to do is remove her from her nest or any access to a nest for a few days (might have to be repeated). The hen has no control over this, she doesn't "decide" to be broody or "decide" to stop being broody. Caging is just removing her from the nest--the other stuff is just for the benefit of the "hanger of the cage". Actually, I believe you do not "cool" off a setting hen. When she sets, she becomes somewhat comotose, a little like a hibernating animal, and the temperature goes DOWN. Normal hen temp is 103-104f. Hatching temp is 99-100f, so you see a hen does not get warmer when she sets!~ The ice or other cooling measures are myth. Dear hens--the females always get the blame! CJR

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#13947 - 07/25/02 05:36 AM Re: broody hen
Big Boy Offline
Ruler of the Roost

Registered: 07/17/02
Posts: 845
Loc: Kansas
CJR you are absolutely right. I knew about the temperature differential but never put the two together. Thank you. I like the cage method because I can keep better track of the hens and know when one received 'the treatment' (let me do it, Master!) and so better gauge re-commencement of lay. Usually I will have three or four at one time, so putting them in a row of former rabbit cages helps me isolate them from the males (who are clueless and just add to the discomfort) and provide them with company (as in 'misery loves company'). When they start acting 'normal' towards the others and me, then I know that they have been re-conditioned and are ready to rejoin the flock (during the night, of course).

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#13948 - 07/31/02 07:57 AM Re: broody hen
Anonymous
Unregistered


I was just reading about broody hens here, and I am puzzled. Does a broody hen usually set until the eggs hatch? Isn't that a good thing? I want to get some pullets, next year,I already have roosters this year for meat. I was hoping to get them to raise their own chicks, for meat, so I won't have to buy more. But does a hen have to be taught to set, or just have fertile eggs under her to hatch? I noticed in the McMurray catalog, they have some breeds that say: "good setters and brooders", I was going to try them. But do ALL hens set,or go broody, (can someone explain the difference there?)if they have the chance? I want eggs too, should I get two different breeds, some for setting and some for eggs? Do any of you raise chicks for yourselves, and if so, what breed are they? All advice is appreciated!!

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#13949 - 07/31/02 08:32 AM Re: broody hen
Big Boy Offline
Ruler of the Roost

Registered: 07/17/02
Posts: 845
Loc: Kansas
Kychick, whenever they are able to put up the archives you will have more information than you will want on almost any conceivably poultry topic. I am not able to answer all your questions but there are others who will be delighted to get a chance to help. If you want eggs and have just a few layers, then broodiness is not helpful nor if a person is desirous of getting some more hatching eggs from that hen. So you try to 'get the hen over her broodiness' while also getting her back to laying (which is in itself dependent upon the breed and strain and the hen). Sometimes you do it because she is locked into broodiness and so is not obtaining sufficient food and/or water while she is setting, which can be a real handicap during a heat wave. They are naturally adapted to brooding a clutch or two in season but not for weeks on end: it can actually be injurious to the hen's health (this is pre-supposing that she hasn't for one reason or another hatched out any chicks and so continues to set on infertile eggs or nothing at all except the nest). Not all breeds have a tendency to become broody: usually it is the heavier varieties that do but those from commercial hatcheries are tended to have the broodiness bred out of the strain. Silkies are notorious (perhaps a bad choice of word) let's say reknowned for being good setters and mothers as are pit game hens (which can be obtained for little or nothing in our area). There are a number of books and booklets available on this subject - perhaps someone here could give her a lead? Good luck and congratulations on getting involved in a very rewarding (but money isn't everything) hobby.

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#13950 - 07/31/02 02:40 PM Re: broody hen
Aram Seattle Offline
Coop Keeper

Registered: 07/16/02
Posts: 547
Loc: Washington
Does a broody hen usually set until the eggs hatch?

Yes, but if eggs are infertile or if she is not a good broody, then complications can arise. She will either kill her chick from "surprise," or just abandone them, or sit stubbornly hoping they hatch even after the usual 21 days.

Great plan to buy pullets for meat raising, though I think you'd be much better buying broiler chicks. They grow quicker. Nothing that you will be able to "legaly" acquire as parent stock, will give you as good of the results as Cornish X chicks. Now, if you don't care about how quickly and attractively your meat chickens grow, then doing dual purpose hybrids might not be such a bad thing. But I would really think hard before going into that. For one thing, before the cockrels are big enough to eat, they have long been crowing your brains out. Do you want that? I don't think so. smile

Noone teaches hens to sit. They either have it or they don't. Some breeds are better at it than others. If you have RIR cock and Leghorn pullets, then their daughters should be good layers and broody hens. Otherwise, silkies are a good way to go.

Not all breeds go broody, so you probably do want to have some hens for laying eggs and one or two for brooding. Believe me, you don't want all of your hens going broody at one time or the other. You just don't need that many chicks unless the demand for your chicks is over the roof, in which case, you'd want an incubator anyways. wink

I have had my RIR pullet raise chicks once and it was the best thing that happened to my flock. It is just very cool to observe her taking care of them. However she has not done so ever since. I have a silkie rooster now that I will breed to that RIR hen. He has a very strong set of genes that will certainly make his daughers good mothers except being half RIR they'll be a little bigger than their dad and thus be able to cover more eggs than a regular silkie hen can.

As to what breed do you want to keep? Well, I would keep an RIR cock, and some leghorns, some Barred rocks and some RIR pullets. That should give you white eggs from leghorns, brown eggs from Barred Rocks and RIR pullet, and sex linked chicks from Barred Rocks eggs. When you cross RIR cock with BR pullet, boys have a white spot on their heads, while girls do not. smile Just a fun kick back if you will be hatching eggs anyways. Well, good luck :p .

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#13951 - 07/31/02 06:58 PM Re: broody hen
Anonymous
Unregistered


Sitting for long periods of time can actually hurt the broody hens. Like it says above, they can really suffer during heat, and some will slowly starve themselves to death in the hope that their infertile eggs or even golf balls will hatch.

While breeds like my silver-laced wyandottes go broody whenever they feel like it, which is all too often, other breeds need a little encouragment. For example, my black sumatra bantams rarely go broody on their own. However, I was ready to accept some chicks if the hens reared them. So I let the eggs accumulate in the nest. The site and feel of those 8-12 eggs triggered the broodiness, and now I have 3 chicks. Apparently, even commercial leghorns have been brought to be broody by letting eggs accumulate while radios of chicks peeping and hatching played.

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