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Poultry and Livestock: So what to do with a broody hen?

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renwings
Sultan, WA
(Zone 8a)

March 4, 2006
3:37 AM

Post #2085234

I have four, two year old Barred Rock hens. One of them is quite broody. I don't have a rooster, but I'm sure I can "borrow" one. She's a sweet girl and very content to sit on eggs all day keeping them warm and doesn't attack me when I come for them if I trade her some food.
Should I let her try and raise a clutch? I'm going to assume I need to keep her and the young seperate for a while. Mostly so I can tell her eggs apart.
Virginian
Falls Mills, VA

March 4, 2006
10:42 AM

Post #2085501

renwings:
Do you have a neighbor you could get some fertlized eggs from? If you do you could always put some of those under your hen.
Virginian
Zeppy
Shenandoah Valley, VA
(Zone 6b)

March 4, 2006
12:49 PM

Post #2085646

I don't know: do you want chicks? :)

How long has she been setting? If it's been a long while, I'm not sure you should put any eggs under her or she might desert them halfway through.

If she keeps it up and you don't have fertilized eggs, you might think about breaking her of the current broodiness. She won't be eating or drinking properly while she's there.
TamaraFaye
Fritch, TX
(Zone 6b)

March 4, 2006
7:21 PM

Post #2086401

yeah, little late to get the rooster for her, but you could borrow one to breed the other hen & if she lays, put her eggs under the broody one!
renwings
Sultan, WA
(Zone 8a)

March 4, 2006
11:30 PM

Post #2086904

So, once she starts setting, its too late to get the rooster? Is that right? I'm not very familiar with hens and their cycles.

She been this way for some time now. Since mid feb. I thought since its early spring, she might like the opportunity to givet it a try and for me to try my hand at something new. I don't intend to keep any chicks she manages to hatch, since I have my hands full with the eggs I've already got.

There is a rooster they keep at the feedstore that you can "introduce" your hen to for a bit. How do I break her of this if its not such a good idea?
TamaraFaye
Fritch, TX
(Zone 6b)

March 5, 2006
12:59 AM

Post #2087096

i odn't know, but i think i read something in Louise Ritott'es book, if anyone has that handy. It's Raising Animals by the Moon, she goes into great detail on broody hens...
Zeppy
Shenandoah Valley, VA
(Zone 6b)

March 5, 2006
1:35 AM

Post #2087179

Basically you don't want her to get too comfortable there. Move her whenever you find her there, or move the box if it's movable. If there are other nests, cover the one she's using so she can't get into it. I've heard of people putting ice cubes under the hen, and they swear by this method. Don't let eggs pile up under her: take them away.

Some people find "breaking up" methods cruel, but I don't much fancy the idea of a hen starving herself, either... and some hens will do this. Also, the longer she stays broody, the longer it'll take her to get back to laying.

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