Is my chicken broody?

babybee22December 2, 2008

I have recently been given a rooster who needed a good home and since built him a really nice pen/penthouse. I also got him a girlfriend. She has been laying an egg a day and I thought it would be nice to let her have babies. (peeps? I've been reading other posts to see if this has already been answered, and have learnt some new terms) I let them out into my garden and she doesn't seem to mind leaving the eggs but seems a little flustered if my 2 1/2yo gets her egg. (this is one of my daughters favorite activities, but I know she'd love to see babies born more)How can I tell if she is laying fertile eggs and also if she is (broody?)? Her and the rooster are different breeds, does this matter? Thank you

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brendan_of_bonsai(4b AK)

If she is broody she wont get off the nest much at all, but that has nothing to do with the fertility of the eggs. If the eggs are fertile you can mark one side and leave that side facing up for 6hours, then carefully crack the egg and look for a little spot about 1/4th of an inch across and a very translucent cream color sitting on the very top of the yolk, this is the embryo. let her get a dozen eggs and then she will go broody and you will see a few weeks later if it was a good idea. Yes roosters of a different breed can mate a hen so long as they are both chickens.

    Bookmark   December 2, 2008 at 3:27AM
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velvet_sparrow(Zone 5b, Gardnerville, NV)

Congrats on your chickens! And yes, having chicks IS more exciting than eggs. :)

I've got a chicken info site here that can answer a lot of your questions:

http://jackshenhouse.com/

But as for broody hens, they are easy to spot: They will sit on a nest (eggs or not) for hours on end, seemingly in a trance. They will come off the nest once or twice a day to eat, drink, poop (huge, stinky!) and maybe dust bathe, then go back. They will be fluffed up and emit rapid fire 'cluck-cluck-cluck' sounds, growling/shrieking at anyone or anything that approaches them, and generally be grumpy. :)

What you can do to ease your hens' worries about taking her eggs is to take a moment and praise her for it. After all, it IS a big deal. :) I do it for my girls when they are especially proud of the eggs they've laid. Sounds silly, but they do understand it and it seems to calm them.

You can crack any egg into a dish and tell if it is fertile, just look for the white spot on the yolk. If it is big and has rough, undefined edges, it is called the 'blastodisc' and is NOT fertile. Fertile eggs will have a more defined, round, doughnut-like germinal disc that is now called the 'blastoderm'. Pictures and more info here, read the section called 'Fresh Egg Breakout':

http://pubs.caes.uga.edu/caespubs/pubcd/b1166-w.html

I've done it with mine (refrigerated or fresh didn't matter), it worked even without letting the egg sit as brendan said. I just cracked mine into a small dish.

Also as brendan said, breed differences don't matter--if your roo can make the climb, love will find a way. :)

Velvet ~:>

    Bookmark   December 2, 2008 at 5:04AM
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babybee22

My goodness, thankyou both for taking the time to answer what you may consider to be a basic question. I am yet to confirm if I have fertile eggs, but have confirmed that the hen isn't sitting on them and therefore is not broody? The rooster seems keen to get her to sit. He keeps hopping on and asking her to go back to it. He seems like a real character actually and really in love. I never knew chickens could be like him. I lived on an Ingham farm when i was younger and didn't notice personalities in the chickens, but these two; definitely. Anyway, my next set of research will be to try and incubate an egg or two myself, so I may be back with more queries. If not stories of my two lover birds.

    Bookmark   December 8, 2008 at 3:23AM
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dunwaukin(Ontario 5b)

She won't start sitting on the eggs until she has a clutch -- my chickens will leave eggs in the nest, unsat-on, until there is about a dozen. Then they will sit tight on the nest. The eggs will all hatch on the same day (give or take a few hours -- I have had eggs hatch a day later, up to 23 days from setting) So the eggs laid two weeks before she starts to set will still hatch the same time as the last one laid.

She also might not set if you are disturbing the nest. So can you find a secure area for her. Free from pests, (and enthusiastic little girls) You usually can't move the nest once she starts brooding.

In my barn, I have a couple of "broody" pens that are completely lined with chicken wire. The doors are left open to the main chicken barn until someone starts to brood. Once they get to the three week mark, it becomes chick pen. Their own food, water, door closed.

I find they like to nest on the floor, lots of straw, then I lean a large board against the wall (4' x 2' maybe) This gives them a sense of security, the chicks will be on the floor when they hatch, you can still get at the nest to clean out the eggs that don't hatch.

With a dozen hens, there are probably four or five of them laying in the same nest. One of my other posts, I tell about the time I had two hens brooding the same nest. It was easier to leave them, than to make one leave.

    Bookmark   December 8, 2008 at 10:26AM
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cgood_littlepinkbook_com

we introduced a new hen to our flock of two. but the girl previously at the top of the pecking order feels blue. now she won't get off the nest - so nobody is laying eggs it's true! Help.

Here is a link that might be useful: http://www.littlepinkbook.com

    Bookmark   May 18, 2011 at 6:54AM
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