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Author Topic: Broody hens  (Read 1714 times)
Brian D. Bray
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« on: September 24, 2007, 12:00:46 AM »

My banty hen just hatched her 2nd set of the season yesterday--two cute chicks.  Being a banty she can only set on 5-6 eggs or 8 banty eggs.  I put 8 eggs (mixed full size & banty) under her.  The rats got 4 of the eggs during the 21 days of incubation and 2 didn't hatch.  She is one broody hen, she raised her first hatch--laid about six eggs and when broody again.  With this hatch she shouldn't be broody again until spring.  The other banty hen isn't quite so broody.

I'm going to crank up my anti-rat safari's big time.

I also set 2 doz eggs in the electric incubator at the same time the hen started setting.  I checked yesterday and removed the automatic turner--today some of the eggs are cheeping and the shells are cracking from the inside out. 
Due to the fact that not all the eggs get fertilized and some abort during incubation I usually figure that 40% hatch rate is good.  Since the timing of the eggs hatching are so close together I will give those hatched in the incubator to the banty to raise.
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Life is a school.  What have you learned?   Brian      The greatest danger to our society is apathy, vote in every election!
MarkR
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« Reply #1 on: September 24, 2007, 07:18:40 AM »

Hey Brian,

Glad to hear your having so much new life joining you.  I have two dozen eggs in my incubator now from a friend down south in Georgia, to replace what I lost in the "unfortunate bear incident" (that's hwo we're refering to it).  No sign of the bear since, by the way.  It's fun, and I've turned it into a school project with my class of second graders.  Pretty good when you can get a bunch of kids to do your work for you, eh?

Mark
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Robo
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« Reply #2 on: September 24, 2007, 08:00:40 AM »

Gotta love those broody hens.   I have one that sat for two months.   The first batch went bad, long story, so I gave her some guinea eggs and she sat another 28 days.  Hatched 7 of the 9 eggs.  To them,  the hen is Mom, and they follow her in lock step.  They seem to be intrigued by the other guineas, but to this point have stayed loyal to Mom.  The flying thing is fun to watch,  they haven't flown up on fences or into the trees yet, just 20-30 feet at a time across the yard.  Mom gives it her best to fly with them,  but only makes it with a few hop landings in between  grin

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Brian D. Bray
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« Reply #3 on: September 25, 2007, 12:03:30 AM »

I thought about guineas until I visited my brother.  He has a bunch, lets them run wild and nest where and whenever.  The bleep woke you up early every morning.  One sounded like a very loud rusty gate hinge and the other like an old donkey.  Since I live within the city limits I decided not to push my luck.  My neighbors like to hear the Roosters crow but I think they would quickly tire of guineas, I know I did.

The Broody hen actually sat the 1st time for 2 months--the first set an old egg eating hen got her eggs, the second batch I had only 1 of 3 survive.  This time she has 2 out of her 3rd set of the year.  The incubator has so far yielded 9 chicks, 8 still alive.  One is colored like a chipmonk--yellow and brown spotted with 2 white stripes down its back.
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Life is a school.  What have you learned?   Brian      The greatest danger to our society is apathy, vote in every election!
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« Reply #4 on: September 25, 2007, 08:10:56 AM »

Yes guineas can be noisy, and I could see a problem within city limits.   We find that they are much less maintenance than chickens and the eggs are better tasting (suppose to be healthier too).   Since they can fly up into the trees,  they stand a better chance against the foxes and coyotes than chickens (were down to just 2 chickens because of this).

We have ours trained to the coop at night and they don't get let out until 9am,  so there are no early morning wake up calls.  I know letting them roost in the trees can be real troublesome for sleeping tongue They eat much less than chickens and during the summer free-range for most of their food.  They love bugs and don't scratch up the flower beds and gardens like chickens.  Their manure is much drier and smaller than chickens which is also a plus.

They are less domesticated and don't like being handled and they are LOUD when they sense trouble.  We consider them are watch dogs.   We do have one female that is extremely vocal that my wife has named MOO (miss obnoxious one).  They occasionally wander over to our one and only neighbor's yard.  But they don't mind because they eat lots of ticks.   The fact that they don't scratch and don't leave big plops of slimy poo also helps Undecided
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ZuniBee
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« Reply #5 on: September 25, 2007, 05:34:26 PM »

Ok, here is a silly question. How do you tell when a hen goes broody? We got our very first eggs last Wednesday...two of them. We have been getting two to three every day since. 18 eggs so far and they sure are good! My son collects the eggs in the morning and I check in the evening.

I've heard a lot about hens going broody but don't know what to expect. Will she just stay sitting on the egg?
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randydrivesabus
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« Reply #6 on: September 25, 2007, 05:56:21 PM »

she will set on eggs or just in her nest box with her feathers all ruffled out. she will not move for nothing.
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Brian D. Bray
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« Reply #7 on: September 27, 2007, 09:57:46 PM »

A broody hen will not move off the eggs if you are trying to collect them.  She puffs out her feathers and will also peck at you or swat at you with her wing.  Her protectiveness of what she's setting on it the major give away.  She will also be on the nest every time you go into the hutch. 

A broody hen may only be setting on 1 egg so it is a good idea to lift her up and check the egg count and put more under her.  Since more than 1 chicken will lay eggs in the same nest it is a good idea to find out whether se was the first or last chicken to use that nest that day.  A full sized hen can set about 8 eggs--a banty can only set about 4 large sized chicken eggs.  Jersey Giants can handle 10-12 eggs under each hen.
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Life is a school.  What have you learned?   Brian      The greatest danger to our society is apathy, vote in every election!
Cindi
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« Reply #8 on: September 27, 2007, 11:15:04 PM »

Brian, Rob, nice stories you told us, I love to hear about the chickenyard stuff.

That old rusty gate sound, that sounds like one of the noises that the Stellar Jays make around here, just like that for sure.

We bought an incubator recently from someone who was getting out of raising fowl.  It holds about 100 eggs (not sure though really).  We hatched out 12 out of 15 of the brown chickens' eggs about a week ago.  Now there are about 75 of the Muscovey duck eggs that will be hatching we figure this weekend sometime.  That will be interesting to see how many duck eggs were viable.  Have a great and wonderful day.  Cindi
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Zoot
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« Reply #9 on: October 02, 2007, 10:53:19 PM »

Brian,

Have you ever had hens go broody on unfertilized eggs? We don't have a rooster at the moment and 2 of my Rhode Is reds went broody this past summer. Couldn't get them off the eggs which were the collective accumulation of their particular coop. One died recently. Never had this happen before...any solutions?
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Brian D. Bray
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« Reply #10 on: October 03, 2007, 10:54:23 PM »

Yeah, that happens from time to time with naturally raised chickens.  Naturally raised chickens will brood, rooster or not, and some will keep setting until they die of starvation or constipation.  1 of my banty hens sat 2 clutches back to back--only hatched 1 egg the 1st set and it died within 2 days so she was back on the nest--the 2nd set 2 hatched of which 1 survived and should start laying soon.  This is the same hen that just hatched her 3rd set of the year that I started this post with.

Chickens can't count so they don't always know when they are suppose to get off the nest and will set themselves to death.  If a chicken doesn't get off the nest within 24 days of going broody then get some fertile eggs from someone and put those under her--chances are she will keep sitting until those hatch.

I always keep at least 1 rooster for that reason.

These days a broody hen is often a throwback--Hatcheries have been using incubators so much that many breeds of chickens have lost their ability to set and raise chicks naturally.  Those throwbacks are treasures indeed and, imo, every effort should be made to keep those doing what is suppose to come naturally.
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Life is a school.  What have you learned?   Brian      The greatest danger to our society is apathy, vote in every election!
Zoot
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« Reply #11 on: October 03, 2007, 11:04:07 PM »

Brian,  That's really interesting. Now I lament the loss of that hen even more. Though, with the losses to foxes, hawks and even an eagle recently I have re-learned the practice of not getting attached to them.
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