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A link to my "The Ultimate Guide To Broody Hens" article

 
James Grayston
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Hello, everyone.

I would just like to share with you a post that I have written about broody hens. I have called it "The Ultimate Guide to Broody Hens" because I answer 61 of the most frequent questions that are asked regarding broody hens. My article is about 6000 words long but I have tried to make it as reader friendly as possible by using lots of graphics and splitting it up into lots of different sections. Lots of us will have some of our hens turn broody in the coming months and so I thought that this would be a good time to publicise my post. The post covers such topics as "breaking a broody hen", "inducing broodiness", and "the breeds of chickens most likely to go broody."

Here is a sample paragraph, discussing breaking a broody hen

"24. Should I try and break a broody hen?

Kimberly Willis and Robert Ludlow believe that broody hens should not be broken. Broodiness is the result of a hormonal surge and since there is no effective way to stop the hormones, your best bet is to let her sit it out. Just make sure that you regularly take out any eggs that she might be sitting on in the nest box.

However, on forums and other websites people are commonly asking how to break a broody hen for various reasons. These include people who cannot afford for a broody hen to stop laying or because a broody hen is showing signs of being seriously unwell.

25. What factors should I consider before I try to break a broody hen?

A broody hen can only be broken once their broody cycle has started. If you successfully break your broody, you will only stop her current broody cycle. She will become broody again in future and you will need to decide whether to try and break her broodiness again or let it run its natural course- which might last 21 days.

Before you do anything I would ask you to bear in mind that when we think of breaking a broody hen we are trying to stop a powerful, instinctive and natural process. Any intervention should be done very sensitively.

If you want to stop a hen’s broodiness you will need to act decisively and intervene at the start of their broody cycle because as a natural process it will become stronger and therefore harder to break as each day passes. Another important thing to remember is that breaking a broody hen will take time and consistent effort on your part- don’t expect get a result after intervening for just one day- although of course for some hens that might be enough!"

And here is an image from my article


Please click on the following link to read the article The Ultimate Guide to Broody Hens

I would welcome any feedback. Thanks.
 
Miranda Converse
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I have three broody hens right now! I think I may have created a super-broody breed (Easter Egger X Faverolle). I have 9 of these hens who started laying Dec-Jan timeframe and have already had 6 go broody, although some may be the same hen going broody twice, I can't tell them apart. So far the two who successfully had chicks (they stole chicks from other broodys), abandoned them a couple weeks after hatch. Started with 10 chicks and now down to 3. So, super broody but not super mothers.

I did have to break one hen. She had raised two broods of adopted chicks with no issues. The third time she went broody, I gave her a couple newly hatched chicks the same way I did the first two times and she mauled one pretty severely and drew some blood on the other. Wasn't going to chance that again and it was too late to give her some eggs to hatch so I broke her. I just kept her in the garage for a couple nights and she was over it. That was about two months ago and she is broody again. This time I'm allowing her to hatch her own, as long as she doesn't do a nest switcheroo halfway through incubation (which is why she always had to adopt instead of hatch on her own).

Anyway, just wanted to share my experience...

 
James Grayston
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Wow, that sounds complicated! Tell me, are you going to separate her from the rest of the flock and put her in her own nest box?
 
Miranda Converse
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In the past when I have tried to move her and her eggs, she either immediately goes back to her original nest or if I lock her in one of the pens, she paces until she can get back to her nest. Even if I move her at night, she's back to her nest/pacing the next morning.

I have been able to move her and her chicks once she has accepted them. I did this when I gave her and another mama close to 20 chicks. They both shared an 8x20 pen and shared responsibility for all the chicks. The other hen decided she had had enough of the craziness and it was clear she wanted out of the pen after about 2 weeks. So the one hen raised the 20 by herself for the next month or so...Those chicks are the majority of my laying flock now(the super broody hens)...

I have also left her (and other mama hens) in with the rest of the flock when they have had only a few chicks. They do a great job of integrating the chicks into the rest of the flock this way. They are free range so I generally have pretty high losses with the free range chicks, all predators though, never from other chickens. Those chicks are mostly for the sake of the hens though. May sound weird but I feel as though they deserve to be able to live out their motherly duties and separating them from the flock is always a stressor one way or another (loss of freedom, re-integration, change of housing, etc). And the chicks who do survive are much more predator-savy and adept to free range than human brooded chicks.

 
James Grayston
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Yes, it just goes to show how unique individual chickens can be. It sounds as if you have a system set up that works very well in your situation. Good luck with your broodie...
 
Angie O'Connor
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My problem is I want them to go broody LOL

Right now is the time of year I want them broody and hatching. But they never seem to want to commit until May or June and then I'm having later chicks then I like. Earlier and I could butcher Roos instead of carrying them through winter.
 
Miranda Converse
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Not sure if this is just coincidence or not, but mine seem to go broody on the days when I forget to collect eggs and there are a bunch in the nesting box. Maybe worth a try to put 7 or 8 eggs in a favorite nesting spot for a couple days. If it weirds you out to leave eggs outside for a couple days, you could probably try wooden eggs.
 
Angie O'Connor
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Miranda Converse wrote:Not sure if this is just coincidence or not, but mine seem to go broody on the days when I forget to collect eggs and there are a bunch in the nesting box. Maybe worth a try to put 7 or 8 eggs in a favorite nesting spot for a couple days. If it weirds you out to leave eggs outside for a couple days, you could probably try wooden eggs.


There's usually eggs and golf balls in the nests. I think it's more the light and warmth. While the days are longer now, it's still not always warm.

If I was more organized Id have an insulated coop with supplemental light where they could be cozy and safely raise their chicks. One day!
 
Miranda Converse
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Even though I have about 15 secure nesting boxes inside my coops, I still have two hens that decided to go broody in a cat cubby (little fabric cube thingy) I had sitting on a table just outside my door. It was hardly big enough for one chicken and they both squished their big butts in there. All the hard work we put into providing them what we think they need and they will go and decide there's something better! They will do what they want I suppose...
 
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