Page 1 of 2 1 2 >
Topic Options
#98196 - 08/07/11 03:47 PM Broodiness dangerous??
Sunni Ten Offline
Flock Leader

Registered: 07/16/02
Posts: 341
Loc: Colorado
That's the question we're discussing on another chicken board I go to (mostly novices).
With the flocks I've had over the years I would ocassionally get a broody hen. I've had a few raise store-bought chicks but usually, they were on their own. I let them go through their broody period on their own which as we know can last many weeks or even several months.
Since I visit my coop each day, sometimes several times a day, I would sometimes bring water and some food to my broody hen but other than that (and that wasn't even every day), she was on her own. Eventually she would get over being broody and that was that.
I've been on this board for many years and the general concensus was (back when I participated in the discussions) that broodiness is natural and just let nature do its thing.
But this other board I'm on feels differently. They're going on and on about how dangerous it is for a broody hen to stay broody very long and that we should definitely discourage it (with the various methods we're all heard about.) They feel a broody hen will eventually dehydrate or starve to death. That even though she leaves her nest every day a bit, she's just not eating/drinking enough. That the heat in the summer could kill her if she's in a hot coop all day long.
Opinions????????

Top
#98200 - 08/07/11 07:03 PM Re: Broodiness dangerous?? [Re: Sunni Ten]
IPF Offline
Coop Keeper

Registered: 04/08/08
Posts: 466
Loc: Canada
If she's left broody for too long (i.e. for far more than 21 days), or, worse, manipulated into being broody for too long, then yes, she can suffer. I've read of people letting sikies set until the chicks hatch and then taking the chicks away and substituting new eggs, to take advantage of their natural broodiness, and eventually finding their hens dead on the nest.

Imagine being pregnant for three years. . . . Being broody is hard on a hen, there's no doubt (and worse if she has any parasites). I either set my broodies or break them up, by putting them somewhere they can't set - it takes only a couple of days.

Common sense should prevail here. Hens are designed to set for 21 days. Letting them set for that long, +/- a few, isn't going to hurt them. Much longer may.

Top
#98203 - 08/07/11 10:06 PM Re: Broodiness dangerous?? [Re: IPF]
Foehn Offline
Administrator
Lord of the Fowl

Registered: 08/08/06
Posts: 1968
Loc: New Zealand
Dangerous in itself? No! vulnerable to outside dangers? Yes. sitting for a long time in one spot could be an invitation to predators in countries that have them; can lead to infestation of mites or lice. Most broody hens will get off the nest to look for food if they need it, so starvation is not likely unless locked in and forgotten. Don't forget the metabolic rate slows and they take maximum benefit from food they eat, leading to those great big smelly poops.
But management of broody hens is just a normal part of poultry management, and it is up to the individual whether to let a hen sit or break up the broody spell. She will come back to lay quicker, but of course may go right back to broodiness soon after. I usually break up the broodiness of my early hens, and usually the pullets, so I can keep them laying, but there comes a time when I will let my favourite broody sit and will usually buy day-olds to put under her. My best hen for brooding is now 8 years old and is still looking after her last chick (Which is now laying) She hasn't started laying as yet, but if she does, i will get some female barnevelders to put under her.

Top
#98212 - 08/08/11 08:42 AM Re: Broodiness dangerous?? [Re: Foehn]
Sunni Ten Offline
Flock Leader

Registered: 07/16/02
Posts: 341
Loc: Colorado
At my coop, it's locked from predators at night. I check for mites and lice regularly. So unless broodiness goes on for more than a month or so, I personally don't worry. But I know people (on-line) that try to break up broodiness right away.

Top
#98215 - 08/08/11 02:42 PM Re: Broodiness dangerous?? [Re: Sunni Ten]
Bushman Offline
Ruler of the Roost

Registered: 07/25/07
Posts: 1046
Loc: Wisconsin
I have let hens set for up to 50 to 55 days with no permanent ill effects. The keys are to make sure they are healthy to begin with, free of vermin, and setting in reasonably moderate weather. Just because a group of people claim something on the internet, that alone does not make it true.
_________________________
Pilgrim in a foreign land and true believer.
1st John 5:11-12

Top
#98233 - 08/09/11 08:54 AM Re: Broodiness dangerous?? [Re: Bushman]
IPF Offline
Coop Keeper

Registered: 04/08/08
Posts: 466
Loc: Canada
No-ones suggesting it does, Bushman. We're just exchanging experiences and ideas. Be nice, please.

Top
#98234 - 08/09/11 10:49 AM Re: Broodiness dangerous?? [Re: IPF]
Bushman Offline
Ruler of the Roost

Registered: 07/25/07
Posts: 1046
Loc: Wisconsin
I kinda think warning newer folks not to be too gullible or naive is a way of being kind. Telling half truths or untruths because it may be what someone wants to hear is not really nice. Sorry if I offended anyone, I just don't like to spend a lot of time beating around the bush, so to speak.
_________________________
Pilgrim in a foreign land and true believer.
1st John 5:11-12

Top
#98235 - 08/09/11 02:51 PM Re: Broodiness dangerous?? [Re: Bushman]
Maria Ricardo Offline
Past Moderator
Coop Keeper

Registered: 03/26/05
Posts: 434
Loc: Hawaii
Broodiness is only dangerous if the hen gets infested with mites or lice. Then they can sit to death.

Top
#98262 - 08/10/11 09:12 PM Re: Broodiness dangerous?? [Re: Maria Ricardo]
Sunni Ten Offline
Flock Leader

Registered: 07/16/02
Posts: 341
Loc: Colorado
Bushman's post wasn't mean. He was responding to my scenario of a group of people (on another board) all stating something as truth, when that may not be the case.

Top
#98264 - 08/11/11 06:07 AM Re: Broodiness dangerous?? [Re: Sunni Ten]
Richard in MA Offline
Flock Leader

Registered: 01/23/07
Posts: 332
Loc: Massachusetts
I agree with Bushman. This is not meant as an insult but novices typically have less experience and may not correctly interpret what they are seeing. Passing that on, even when done with good intent, can be problematic. I have some hens this year that have been broody for the past two months and they are fine. I do not have the time to try to break them and I check their weight (by feel) when I am pulling the eggs they are invariably sitting on every day. Even broody hens take time to come off to feed and defecate. The danger they can face, like others have said, is primarily from parasite infection. Sitting still for so long makes them easy targets. Keep those under control and they will be fine.

On a side note, I was able to bring off a couple cochin hens from being broody by giveing them a clutch of East Indie duck eggs that were starting to hatch. The duck was not a great mother and I wanted to integrate a few ducklings into the mixed flock so put them under the cochins instead. They did a great job, however the ducklings are far more independent than chicks are so have already abandoned their "mothers" at just under a month old!

Top
Page 1 of 2 1 2 >


Moderator:  Admin @ The Coop, Foehn