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does this hen sound broody?

(7 Posts)
plantwoman Mon 20-Jul-09 15:46:00

I have had my hens for just over 2 years and as far as I'm aware we have not had a broody hen yet.
However the 1st ones we had were quite old, but we got a couple of younger bantam x silkies last year, everything has been fine with them until about a month ago, we realised that Fluffy Feet (yes - really) was laying her eggs behind the shed, we found a total of 21 eggs! We removed all but about 4, thinking that if that was where she wanted to lay them, fine. In the last couple of weeks though, she has just sat on these remaining 4 eggs 9not laid any herself, as far as I am aware, she barely comes out. Last night I managed to grab her and put her in the hen house, she felt very thin and I am worried that she is not eating, although she wolfed a load of pellets down when I'd put her in the house. on the few occasions that she has come out she puffs all her feathers up and clucks away to herself as if she's unhappy about something. One of the older hens (who is the top of the pecking order) has been a bit agressive towards her as well, which hasn't happened before.
We go on holiday next week and I am worried about leaving her like this, as she is clearly not quite right!
If she is broody how long is it likely to last?

daisydotandgertie Mon 20-Jul-09 15:52:32

She's definitely broody.

Do you want her to hatch any eggs? Either if you have a cockerel or want to buy any fertile eggs for her?

If you have a cockerel and she's been sitting for 14 day already, she's only got another 7 to go before they hatch ....

If not, it's recommended that you break her out of the broody cycle by putting her into a wire box (dog crate or similar) with nothing comfortable available for 48 hours. If 48 hours doesn't fix her, she should go back in there again until the broody spell has gone. The idea is to make her so uncomfortable she decides that there are more interesting things to do than brood.

It sounds very cruel, but a broody hen won't eat or drink unless you boot her off the nest once or twice a day and could easily die as a result of it - especially if you're going away.

plantwoman Mon 20-Jul-09 16:12:10

we don't have a cockerel and I don't really want any more hens to be honest.
Sounds like I have done the right thing by removing her from her 'nest' then. Do you think we should remove the eggs she has been sitting on? I am assuming she will keep going back to them, but don't want to distress her.
Perhaps if I kept her in and just let the others out for a few days, do you think that would help?

daisydotandgertie Mon 20-Jul-09 16:23:16

Hens are very, very stubborn and a broody hen will keep all the others away from the nest box with her puffing up and pecking behaviour.

I've tried everything I can think of to avoid the uncomfortable cage treatment and I've found it's a case of being cruel to be kind.

If you don't 'break' the broody cycle, she'll sit there for months. She won't come off the nest to poo, or to eat or drink. They don't seem to come out of it by themselves. Or at least not for three months yet.

And I don't know about yours but ours is horrible to the other girls!

plantwoman Mon 20-Jul-09 16:30:59

yes her temperament has certainly changed. I guess the positive thing is she is laying elsewhere, not in the nesting box, so it is easy enough to make that place 'out of bounds' to her.
I removed the eggs and chucked them, so hopefully if I keep her in for a while she will come out of it.

daisydotandgertie Mon 20-Jul-09 16:35:24

I hope so! Is she still actually laying? That's quite unusual. They normally lay a clutch, then sit.

Good luck with her, and make sure you lift her off the nest at least once a day so she eats, drinks and poos!

plantwoman Mon 20-Jul-09 16:50:10

No she's not laying at the moment, I don't think she's laid for a couple of weeks now at least.
Thanks for your help smile

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