Broody hen

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DianaB
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Re: Broody hen

Post by DianaB »

I am now lifting my broody hen out of the nesting box and blocking her access to it throughout the door. She is eating but I haven’t seen her drinking yet. She is tending to nestle down in any spot that looks good. I am concerned that her top comb looks dull and limp. Is that a sign of dehydration? Water is accessible for her. I have been blocking the access to next doors cockerel for my other hen. She is not showing any signs of getting broody yet.
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Marigold
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Re: Broody hen

Post by Marigold »

That’s good. I expect her comb looks a bit limp because she has been sitting in the nest box for a while without wanting to come out to eat and drink normally. She should get over it if you can stick to the treatment and help her to get back to normal. It’s good that she is eating OK and I expect she’s drinking as well, just when you’re not looking. In cooler temperatures I’ve found that my hens drink quite a bit less than in the summer.
Nestling down wherever she can is characteristic of a broody hen, which is why she needs to live on a cool, bare, uncomfortable surface to prevent her doing this, for a while. You said you’ve been lifting her out of the nest box - how did she get in there? What are you doing with her overnight?
Do you just have the two bantams? And have you ever had experience of hens going broody before? It’s a bit of a nuisance, but next time you’ll be prepared at the first signs!
DianaB
Newcomer / Hatchling
Posts: 5
Joined: Tue Nov 10, 2020 12:39 pm

Re: Broody hen

Post by DianaB »

I am new to hen keeping and just have the two bantams. I open the coop door every morning to let them out and physically lift the broody one out and then shut the coop door. I open the coop door and they both go back in when the daylight fades. I don’t have any concreted areas where they are so my broody hen will just settle down under the coop which is elevated. At least she is eating now and hopefully drinking. Do you think this is likely to go on throughout winter?
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Marigold
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Re: Broody hen

Post by Marigold »

Yes, I think it will go on indefinitely unless you can remove her from the coop overnight, as well as shutting her out in the day. Mine go to roost soon after 4-30 at the moment, hens always roost at sunset, and get up around 7.00, so they are roosting in darkness for over 14 hours. By the middle of December, this will become up to 16 hours. Your broody will make no progress out of her hormonal state if you just lift her out of a comfy nest box for the few remaining hours of what passes as daylight in midwinter.
If you don’t have anything that could safely become a spare overnight shelter for her out of doors, another way could be to put her in a dog crate, rabbit hutch, or even a cardboard box and put this in a shed or garage, somewhere unheated and airy. Line it with newspaper to catch the droppings, but no bedding, just the flat floor. No food or water is needed whilst she is roosting. Get her up as early as you can to rejoin her friend in the open air so she gets as much light as possible.
At this time of year, you are up against it with providing enough light, although most hens come out of the breeding season when the days get shorter. One idea would be to move her into a cage with a mesh top, in a garage etc with an overhead light left on all the time, as if it was midsummer. This might shift her hormones - might be worth a try - what do other people on here think? Anyone else had a November teenage mum to deal with?

The only other option to making a really determined attempt to get her out of broodiness is just to carry on as you are doing, making her come out as much as possible during the day. This would help her, making sure she is eating sensibly and not getting any broodier, but whatever you do, the situation is pretty certain to happen over and over, and with both of them next year- that’s what Silkies are like!
She sounds quite a character! We would love a photo of her and her friend if you have any.
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Marigold
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Re: Broody hen

Post by Marigold »

By the way, is the other one laying? If so, how is she managing to get in the coop if you’ve shut it during the day?
It’s a bit hard on her to be separated from her friend at night, I’m afraid. One of the problems of only having two of them - they are flock birds and don’t like being on their own. The stress this causes is part of the treatment for the broody, but a bit lonely for the other one.
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