broody hen

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Roisin
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broody hen

Post by Roisin » Thu Nov 14, 2019 10:18 am

I have a young white leghhorn type hen who has gone broody (in november!)and sits on her nest all day. Needless to say she's out of lay. Yesterdayi locked her out of the nest box (Tricky for me as i have other hens that need access). Is thare anything else i can do? Advice welcome!
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Marigold
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Re: broody hen

Post by Marigold » Thu Nov 14, 2019 1:25 pm

Are you sure it's because she's broody? I've had a few leghorn hybrids and none of them have ever gone broody, especially in November. Is she eating and drinking, moving around OK, or does she appear lethargic when moved out of the nestbox? Nostrils and eyes clean and clear? Any breathing noises? Is she moulting? (You say she's young, does this mean this is her first winter, when moulting is unlikely?)

If she seems normal apart from the need to sit in the nestbox, could you perhaps make a small enclosure within the run where she will be in the dry with food and water but no access to a cosy box, then observe how she behaves? Normally, a broody hen removed from the nestbox and penned outside in the light will walk around all the time making a big fuss. If she just cuddles down in a corner there may be something else wrong with her. Access to light is essential because this will affect hormonal balance and help restore a broody to her senses, whereas staying all day in a dark box will intensify the broodiness, if that's what it is. After roosting time, go down and put her on the perch with the others overnight so she doesn't get cold out on her own. This would be the usual way to break a broody hen and should work within a few days, but also it will guide you by her behaviour to know if anything else is going on.
Roisin
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Re: broody hen

Post by Roisin » Thu Nov 14, 2019 2:44 pm

Ive alsohad leghorn hybrids before and agree they dont usually go broody. This one is broody though , shows no sign at all of being unwell. Has been doing the whole feather hackling/clucking thing that a broody hen does too. Made a great fuss when locked out of nest box yesterday! A bit early to tell but she seems slightly more normal today (still locked out). Hope this doesnt go on for too long.. she is one of only 2 laying hens i have at the moment (of the other 3, 1 doesnt lay in winter, 1 is in the henopause, and 1 is a bit of a runt) and i need the eggs!
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Hen-Gen
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Re: broody hen

Post by Hen-Gen » Thu Nov 14, 2019 5:07 pm

I’m with you there, Roisin. Some years back I had an Exchequer Leghorn that was a persistent broody. I never let her set any eggs because Leghorns are notoriously bad mothers so each time I had to end her broodiness.
I’d agree with Marigold that preventing access to the nest boxes is usually effective at this time of year. I use one of those dog cage/crate things which can be put in any lighted shed or garage. Give her food, water and a perch but no bedding. This usually ends broodiness in two or three days.
I also have what’s called a broody breaker but this would be a bit over the top for you.
Good luck.
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Margaid
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Re: broody hen

Post by Margaid » Thu Nov 14, 2019 6:38 pm

I had a couple of Exchequer Leghorns who would go broody. I had an "isolation coop" - 2 sq metre enclosure with a small house raised above the ground. It could sometimes take three of four days in the summer to end the broodiness, and if I let the hen out too early it would make a bee-line for the nest box in the main house!
Roisin
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Re: broody hen

Post by Roisin » Sat Nov 23, 2019 12:15 pm

Thanks everyone for the advice. After 5 days of keeping her locked out of nest box shes only half cured. So today i went the whole hog and put her in the cage of shame - a dog crate in a lighted garage type room. She is of course making a bit of a fuss. Walking on a wire cage looks uncomfortable. Will it hurt her feet? Havnt put a perch in yet as havnt found anything suitable.
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Marigold
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Re: broody hen

Post by Marigold » Sat Nov 23, 2019 4:59 pm

I was wondering how she was getting on. What a weirdo! Good idea to supplement the lighting -how many hours per day are you giving her?
You could put newspaper on the cage floor, to make it a bit easier on her feet and better for cleaning up?
Roisin
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Re: broody hen

Post by Roisin » Wed Nov 27, 2019 7:34 pm

IT WORKED! Poor girl was not happy in the cage but is now back with the others and does not appear to be broody. Thanks all for the advice.
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Marigold
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Re: broody hen

Post by Marigold » Wed Nov 27, 2019 9:33 pm

Let's hope she's learned her lesson, - and will be back laying in a little while.
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