Broody Mo

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rick
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Broody Mo

Post by rick » Tue May 08, 2018 9:02 pm

Ive just been reading up on broodies and have realised that this has been going on for a while. There have been feathers in the nest boxes for a few weeks though they were, I thought, Bonnie's (black and easy to identify). Bonnie lost feathers on her underside as soon as the weather warmed up and I cant say as i blame her, it must be very hot in that 40 tog duvet! No lice, mites or any of the kind.
Anyway, they are not all Bonnie feathers, there are a lot of CLB feathers in there too and today Mo was in the same nest box when I went to work in the morning and when I got back 9 hours later.
I think I understand what I need for a broody breaker though maybe I need something bigger than the dog crate as she will be in there for a while. What is really puzzling me is that I am still getting 3 blue eggs a day most of the time (like today.) No eggs in the nest box this morning - when I got back she was sitting on 4 very hot eggs, one must have been hers plus one pink egg from Bonnie - so she must, at least, have got out to let the others in for a while.
Oddly, though we have 2 nest boxes and a spare, they all queue up to use one - another mystery!
Can a hen be broody and keep laying?
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LadyA
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Re: Broody Mo

Post by LadyA » Tue May 08, 2018 9:50 pm

I've never raised chicks, so not sure. But maybe she's still at the "gathering her stash" stage?
Lead me not into temptation. I can find the way myself!
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Re: Broody Mo

Post by Marigold » Tue May 08, 2018 10:11 pm

They lay a clutch before beginning to sit in earnest. This is so that the eggs will all hatch at the same time if the hen is able to sit and brood them. I know a lot of people recommend shutting broodies up in a cage, but I think there are better ways to deal with the hormonal imbalance which causes broodiness. I've found it effective to remove the broody from the dark and warmth of the nestbox, out into a well-lit bare area where she can get exercise, walking around and complaining loudly. With Marigold, my Sussex, I penned her in a circle of grass behind chicken netting during the day, so she got the light and exercise, and at night I fenced her off in a corner of the run, with no access to the coop, and no cosy bedding to sleep on. This invariably worked and within a few days she was back to normal and could rejoin the others. Over time I got to recognise the early signs, as immediate intervention cures the condition much faster than letting the hormones get too overwhelmingly strong. The slight stress of separation from the others, the absence of comfortable bedding to snuggle in, plus sunlight and air, makes the hen feel that having babies isn't such a good idea after all!
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Re: Broody Mo

Post by Margaid » Tue May 08, 2018 10:17 pm

I did something similar with and Exchequer Leghorn. I had a small house with run attached (about 2 sq metres) which was on grass. It was inside the main enclosure so she could see the other hens when I shut her in there. I did allow her access to the house but the nest box was closed off completely and there was no bedding of any kind - just bare floorboard. Once I was experienced enough to spot the signs quickly it usually only took 48 hours to sort her out.
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rick
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Re: Broody Mo

Post by rick » Tue May 08, 2018 10:20 pm

Hmmm. Maybe thats it of sorts LadyA. This started, I think, when I was getting eggs laid on the floor and in odd places so I put some rubber eggs in the nest boxes to encourage them back in there. It seemed to work except this all using one nest box thing started then. If Mo went broody then and has been trying ever since to have a clutch to sit on... and the others have been obliging by laying all in the same place???
This is my first spring of pure breeds (except Aerial) so all this behavior is a bit new!

(you overtook me while I was mulling over this post Marigold (and Margaid!) - looks like I need to divide the run again for a while)

Thanks
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rick
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Re: Broody Mo

Post by rick » Thu May 10, 2018 8:08 pm

My only solution until the weekend is the dog crate with a couple of plastic washing up drainer mats so she isn't standing on the wire base. I felt sorry for her this morning and left her on the nest to see what happened - no eggs in it. When I got back this evening she was still in there but was sitting on 3 eggs, one of Bonnie's and two blue so the others must have squeezed in while she was in there or maybe briefly when she left.
Got to be tough and leave her in the crate now till the weekend although she isn't exactly getting much exercise sitting on the nest all day anyway - and the crate is bigger than the nest box.
After 2 mins of sitting flattened out like a pancake in the crate just now after putting her in she jumped up and ate a whole bowl of mash.

...except, as I know none are laying in the morning, Ive let her perch with the others overnight and blocked off the nest boxes till I get up. Then back in the clink for the day!
The CLBs have got bigger! Now they don't all fit on the top roost bar like they used to. Linden is in the cellar for the night as he has been deciding it is morning way too early lately.
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Re: Broody Mo

Post by LadyA » Fri May 11, 2018 8:47 am

rick wrote:
Thu May 10, 2018 8:08 pm
My only solution until the weekend is the dog crate with a couple of plastic washing up drainer mats so she isn't standing on the wire base. I felt sorry for her this morning and left her on the nest to see what happened - no eggs in it. When I got back this evening she was still in there but was sitting on 3 eggs, one of Bonnie's and two blue so the others must have squeezed in while she was in there or maybe briefly when she left.
Got to be tough and leave her in the crate now till the weekend although she isn't exactly getting much exercise sitting on the nest all day anyway - and the crate is bigger than the nest box.
After 2 mins of sitting flattened out like a pancake in the crate just now after putting her in she jumped up and ate a whole bowl of mash.

...except, as I know none are laying in the morning, Ive let her perch with the others overnight and blocked off the nest boxes till I get up. Then back in the clink for the day!
The CLBs have got bigger! Now they don't all fit on the top roost bar like they used to. Linden is in the cellar for the night as he has been deciding it is morning way too early lately.
She may have collected the eggs herself from other nest boxes. They are very resourceful! Thankfully, I've only ever had one persistent broody, and I've never had a cockerel, so she was wasting her energy! She would gather the eggs from the three nest boxes every day, and somehow scoot them into her favoured one! I left her for a few days, thinking if Ikept taking the eggs, she'd get fed up. Nooo! Every day, she'd do her round of the nest boxes, and take everyone's eggs. She was a nightmare. That whole Summer, she'd spend up to a week at a time in the cage, once she was ok, she'd be off out with the others for two or three days, and next thing, she'd be broody again! If I'd had facilities for chicks, I'd have got fertilized eggs and let her have a go, but my only henhouse is over three feet off the ground. Could just imagine the little chicks falling out!
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Re: Broody Mo

Post by Hen-Gen » Fri May 11, 2018 1:56 pm

I've currently got a hen in the 'broody breaker'. It's the third hen so far this year. I have a perch in it so that she doesn't have to spend 72 hours stood on the wire bars of the dog crate. The broody breaker is in the shed where I rear my chicks. I currently have 23 five week olds. I have heard that the peeping of the chicks also helps end broodiness.
I'm sure that there are breeds that are statistically less likely to go broody. Nevertheless the most persistent broody I've ever owned was an Exchequer Leghorn that went broody three times a year every year.
This weekend is parasite prevention time. Catching and holding hens which squawk loudly and sulk for a week afterwards because of the indignity I have inflicted on them whilst being attacked by an enraged cockerel makes this the worst job of the year. By contrast, lambs consider castration at 5 days of age to be something of no importance whatsoever.
This year I was hoping for a son from my best ewe to save as a future ram. So what does she give me? Three gimmer lambs. I've now got to bring a ram up from mainland Scotland at considerable expense (£150 for the ram and £90 ferry fare.)
Sorry to go off topic but it suffices to illustrate that keeping animals is something that taxes your patience to the full.
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rick
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Re: Broody Mo

Post by rick » Fri May 11, 2018 6:24 pm

:D I don't know how it's done LadyA but I'm imagining them grumbling as they carry eggs under each wing back to the broody zone.
Hen-Gen wrote:
Fri May 11, 2018 1:56 pm
. I have heard that the peeping of the chicks also helps end broodiness.
I have an old mobile phone with loop play. Can you send me a recording from inside your shed Hen Gen? (Or I'll have to find 'Now that's what I call animal sounds Vol 32' from somewhere.)
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Re: Broody Mo

Post by Margaid » Fri May 11, 2018 6:30 pm

You could try this https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q9R76AboVm8

or this !! which is an hour long (sorry about the advert) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u9W-xouCheA
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