Dear Lord! I have FIVE broody Hens… Holy guacamole!! For those of you who have no clue what a broody hen is like; it’s sort of like trying to get eggs away from a Buzz Saw.
Chickens have this natural Mothering System of behavior. When it’s warm enough, they feel secure and that “urge” hits them, they will sit on anything and try to see if they can hatch it and make a baby. You don’t need a rooster to have a broody hen feel the need to sit on eggs; they do it regardless. Now, you do need a rooster for fertile eggs, but the hen will sit on anything in the nest, fertile or not. The fights which break out when a hen goes to lay in a Broody’s nest is fairly violent at times. The Broody Hen will bite the offending hen’s waddle and comb and at times, just try to peck her eyes out. I suppose it’s the survival of the fittest in action there. If the hen offering the egg isn’t a dominate strong bird, getting the chance to dump her load (egg) in that Broody’s nest, isn’t going to happen. However, if they do manage to subdue the Broody hen’s behavior and persist enough, they will be allowed to lay that egg in the Broody’s nest. Hens will hatch out other chicken’s eggs. Not a problem for a Broody. They are the ever vigilant neighborhood Mother who’ll watch out for all the kids within her realm, whether they are her’s or another Mothers kid. Once in her nest they are her responsibility; Period!
Recently, I had to figure out what to do with FIVE Broodies. They can make your whole hen-house unfit for anyone, including myself. With 5 Butts fighting over nests the other hens were pretty fraught with exhaustion in their attempts to lay their eggs. A few hens just gave up totally trying to sit on a nest and would dump the egg where they stood. All I’d see was a little squat and out popped an egg. I felt bad for them.
So, what I did was to put all five of the Broodies in a 20×20 temporary area. This spot totally cut them off from nests, roosting areas or other hens. They had a lean-to, so food, water and hens, would not be out in the weather. It does have shade, but that’s it in the way of creature comfort. – It’s not a happy spot. They are bored and miserable for about four days. By the end of that time, they have forgotten about being Broody. Then they can be merged back with the flock of normal birds.
That is a much better solution than going out and tossing the broody hen off of her nest every 10 minutes! I used to close the coop during the day (mine free range in the back yard) and that seemed to work as long as they didn’t try to find something else in the yard to hatch. Why a little plastic football (the kind they throw at high school football games) looks like it needs to be hatched is beyond me!
LOL I love that! A plastic Football! Proof that they will try to hatch anything Patti!
“squat and plop”…. Holy cow. You know, Gin…. you’ve truly opened my eyes to the world of chickens. Before you began blogging, I had no clue. I still am basically clueless, but totally entertained! Don’t stop!
Thank you Debbie!! That’s encouraging! Sometimes I wonder who is out there reading. Ah well, I just keep typing. 🙂 Having Chickens has been an eye-opening lifestyle also for me. Some things good and some not so great, but I can type it all right here! – Thanks again!