Any ideas about this hen?

gardengalrn(5KS)November 17, 2008

I have been worried about one of my girls, a production black. She has taken to the nest and will not come off unless you take her off. I know the broodiness has been bred out of this variety and from her behavior I would say she is definitely not broody. She's very calm and lets me pick her up or fish around under her for eggs. So, I thought she might be sick. She eats and drinks normally when taken off the nest. She poops normally, scratches around like the others. No wheezing or anything out of the ordinary. Once you walk away, though, she is right back on the nest where she stays until the next time you bother her. I thought maybe the others were picking on her but that doesn't seem to be it either. Any ideas? Lori

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Is she now laying? If not, has She been laying then stopped? When hens are sick enough to display symptom they would have stopped laying by then.

There are always exceptions in every breed, and she could very well be broody. I've had Rhode Island Reds that were so docile when broody they allowed me to reach under them to check the development of their eggs. Normal RIR broody hens would rip your hand off at the elbow and beat you about the head and shoulders with it.

I would hold back and observe if she is laying and if she isn't then list her symptoms on this forum again and we'll try to suggest good courses of action.

    Bookmark   November 17, 2008 at 6:59PM
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Thanks, Seramas. I know her eggs because she is my only white or light egg layer. She has been laying every day to every other day but the bottom of the egg is a little rough and once was actually soft. I've started offering calcium supplements, thinking that since colder weather has come, they aren't getting everything they need in their diet. I feed them layer rations as well as a steady supply of apples, pears, cracked corn for scratch and occasionally a pile of alfalfa hay which they love to pick through. I checked her for egg binding but I didn't see any signs of that. I find it interesting that you mention the broodiness because that was really my initial instinct about it but thought it just couldn't be. She has a particular cluck that she does when I enter the coop and although she favors a certain nest, will change up her location and I have found up to 4-5 eggs under her. I just figured she would peck at me if she were broody but if anything she is much more mellow than usual. Lori

    Bookmark   November 17, 2008 at 8:19PM
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I find that when you get a broody hen this time of year you can give them vitamin B-complex dissolved in warm water which is added to some corn meal or layer mix and serve it to her moist. Same stuff you get a Wal-Mart for a couple bucks. It is good to give to all your hens this time of year.

Another good supplement is Co-Q10 (300mg Gel Cap) Dissolve in 1qt very warm water (about 110 to 120F) Then mix in 2qts layer and feed to you whole flock once a week. It will increase their life span and increases their egg production without any side effects or effect the food quality of the eggs produced. Take some yourself and see how much energy it gives you, it will repair any heart damage from heart attacks and/or strokes. It is good for preventing heart attacks and strokes. Google Co-Q10 and see all the information on it. There are people that have feed this to mice/hamsters and have them live 8-9 years--triple their normal life span.

So many feeds are lacking the needed vitamins and minerals that all living things need to fight off diseases and speed healing and all around good health. The big poultry companies add 119 vitamins and minerals in their feeds (including Co-Q10) to maintain health and a high level of production.

For about 100+ years farmers have been taking over 120 elements from the soil and only adding back 3. Doesn't take a Mortgage Banker to tell you that account is very overdrawn! That is why the Government mandates by law that all animal feeds have the required vitamins and minerals added to the recipe.

    Bookmark   November 17, 2008 at 10:42PM
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velvet_sparrow(Zone 5b, Gardnerville, NV)

I think she's simply as broody as her human-interfered-with breeding will allow her to be, poor baby. Docile broodies are ALWAYS better than aggressive girls that bite Hell outta ya. Luckily my girls are all show and no go--the flare up and yell, but that's all. It's enough to intimidate my 9 year old daughter though! :)

Observe her while she's sitting--is she doing that 1000 yard meditative, zen-like stare that broodies do when they are in 'the zone', or is she sitting with eyes closed? Closed eyes could mean something is wrong.

I'd check her over for general health--weight loss (feel her keel, the breastbone area, if it feels sharp to your hand she's too thin) and signs of mites and worms. For worms, check her poops (fun!) for worms, although when they show up in poops the birds is heavily infested. For mites, check the base of her feathers for a grayish dusty looking matter (eggs) and tiny reddish-brown crawling mites. Place her on a couple of white paper towels for a few minutes and then check the towels for mites, they are attracted to the white. Also check her over for growths--run your hands over her body and check for lumps, they can also weaken her.

If she has mites or worms, they CAN weaken her enough for it to be fatal, so if you find them treat right away.

Velvet ~:>

    Bookmark   November 18, 2008 at 12:54AM
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"Normal RIR broody hens would rip your hand off at the elbow and beat you about the head and shoulders with it."

Note to self: Do NOT purchase 'normal' RIR hens!

    Bookmark   November 20, 2008 at 3:52PM
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velvet_sparrow(Zone 5b, Gardnerville, NV)

*LOL* at the RIR hen reference*

Sounds like a Rhody, all right!

Velvet ~:>

    Bookmark   November 20, 2008 at 10:28PM
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Hmmm. Good to know. And I was starting to be a bit sad that none of my RIR hens have shown any inclination to brood. Lucky me! I guess I get to keep both my hands.

    Bookmark   November 24, 2008 at 2:13PM
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I had a hen like that. She was a lot younger than the flock and not laying yet. She hid in a nest all day because the other hens would pick on her when she came out. They were really mean, pecking hard at her, not letting her near the food, water or outside door and chasing her around the hen house. If I took her out she would stand beside me or on my boot, but as soon as another hen would come near, she woud run for the nesting boxes and hide.

She was just hiding in safety from them. She is bigger now and laying, but has such a non agressive personality that she still gets picked on. She doesn't hide in the nests anymore, just sits up on a perch out of the way most of the time.

She's become a favorite pet and is very friendly. She will sit on my arm for a long time and looks to me for food when I come in, since I used to feed her by hand when the others wouldn't let her near the food - still do.

    Bookmark   November 26, 2008 at 6:21AM
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