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#98271 - 08/11/11 05:38 PM Re: Broodiness dangerous?? [Re: Richard in MA]
CJR Offline
Coop Master

Registered: 07/16/02
Posts: 8501
Loc: Montana
No, broodiness is not dangerous, but the natural means of poultry reproduction.

In MANY years of setting hens, with or without eggs, I have had ONE death. Loss was of a hen that had never been given eggs to hatch when broody and had previously been stopped by the bare cage method--NO place to "nest", food and water, but NO straw or bedding. When finally chosen to hatch, broody again, the hen was caged with her nest box, given eggs, food and water. Did she eat and drink?--yes, but near the end of her set, she was dead in the nest. Examination was that her vent was totally plugged. I could not remove the solid poop.

My fault for not noticing?? Not sure if I could have cleared her earlier. Broody poop is large and awful smell. There were other setting hens in other cages (inside in winter) and all had seemed normal.... It was many years ago--never occured before or since with MANY setting bantam hens. It was unusual and a rare occurence.

Is broodiness dangerous. NO. I agree that parasites can not just weaken, but can kill a setting hen,if she is not examined and treated for mites/lice, during broodiness and has an overwhelming load!

Not to worry.......but care for your hens... CJR

#98274 - 08/12/11 03:28 AM Re: Broodiness dangerous?? [Re: Richard in MA]
Caladenia Offline

Registered: 02/12/07
Posts: 146
Loc: Australia
i have let a hen or two on occasion sit for more than their three weeks, to no real ill effect on the hen, but this was under strict supervision and ensuring they were adequately feeding and watering.

i have also had two hens die while sitting, one was a pekin and one was a silkie. in both cases the birds were NOT getting off the nest to feed and drink, so i have developed a habit of making sure that thte birds were getting on and off the nest.

i presonally wouldn't have a hen sitting for longer than 6 weeks, she loses too much muscle condition while she is sitting, no matter how much you build them up afterwards. i dont' think the loss of muscle condition and regainign of it is particularly healthy for the birds.

parasites can indeed be a problem, but i see the bigger problem as the loss of muscle and hence protein from their bodies, it take ALOT out of them.

if you control the parasites, feed and water well and ensure the broody is leaving hte nest the broody process is not dangerous. however sitting in summer etc is another situation (depending omn what your summers are like, mine are mid forties celsius and very hot and dry). it is true that the birds will not eat/drink enough, so their concerns on the other board are valid.

it is certainly NOT ok to let a bird sit indefinitely if you have no intention of hatching any eggs.

#98277 - 08/12/11 08:58 AM Re: Broodiness dangerous?? [Re: Caladenia]
IPF Offline
Coop Keeper

Registered: 04/08/08
Posts: 466
Loc: Canada
Yes, of course brooding is the natural way of bird reproduction. That doesn't necessarily mean that it's not dangerous. Pregnancy is natural too, but it is definitely a dangerous period in a woman's life. Not excessively so, perhaps, but definitely higher risk than not being pregnant.

What is dangerous, I believe, is the practice of letting a bird set for three weeks, immediately removing the chicks and giving her fresh eggs, and repeating this process several times.

#98287 - 08/13/11 01:05 PM Re: Broodiness dangerous?? [Re: IPF]
Uno Offline
Lord of the Fowl

Registered: 08/26/05
Posts: 1283
Loc: Canada
Broodiness can be dangerous, if your bird is setting on hand grenades.

For me, I find that it's annoying more than anything. Some ridiculous, growly hen plugging up a nest box and threatening all the other hens that come to lay. I do not employ elaborate methods to break her up. But when I do chores she is abruptly removed from the nest box and punted outside with everyone else.

The danger to the hen is from an owner who is willing to exploit the fact that she is broody, and to use her as an unrelenting incubator. Natural broodiness might not be dangerous to a hen, over-use by owners who aren't concerned with the hen IS a threat. But then, we profit from not giving a hoot about the conditions most poultry live in. (Eek, she tosses in a hot button issue!)

In my early days I had a Silkie that was perma-broody so I gave her some golf balls. THey never did hatch, not for lack of trying. I think she suffered psychological damage. She was never as good at cross word puzzles after that.

#98319 - 08/14/11 09:08 PM Re: Broodiness dangerous?? [Re: Uno]
Foehn Offline
Lord of the Fowl

Registered: 08/08/06
Posts: 1974
Loc: New Zealand

#103310 - 04/10/12 06:27 PM Re: Broodiness dangerous?? [Re: Richard in MA]
NolanFarms Offline
New Egg

Registered: 04/10/12
Posts: 7
Loc: Idaho, USA 83801
We eat our eggs, and also have a few hens that will go broody. If they are not being left to set on the eggs, we just put them in a wire pen that is mounted up on the side of the chicken coupe. It has food and water and with all the cooler air under her keaster she soon forgets about setting. In three days I turn them out with the rest of the flock and they are happier for it. No more broody hen and more eggs for us. I think the dangers of letting a hen set on eggs longer then they were designed to do is that they CAN starve to dealth with out the proper food and water intake. Now notice I said "can" not that they "will". As if you are starting with a really healthy hen in the first place they usually will be fine...but to think that it doesn't take something from the hen to be broody longer then they were made too...well...that wouldn't be wise either. Parasites can take over a broody hen, and preditors can too. Its best to let the broody hen set on one clutch of eggs if you want chicks, other wise...let someone else do it! =)
We love our Poulty Palace, Austerlorps, Jersey Giants, Black Copper Marans, Speckled Cochin Banties, Muscovy Ducks, Ring Neck Pheasants, Welsh Pembroke Corgies, Quarter Horses and Paints, and the wilderness of Northern Idaho oh and we homeschool too. =-)

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