Heedley’s Hens get broody.

You know, you want a broody. You need a broody. You try to make a broody. And…nada. Zip. Zilch.

Then you get a batch of chicks. Heck, you even get a second batch of chicks. And once the first batch of chicks is damn near feathered in, and the second batch of chicks is settled in their new brooder…THEN you get a broody.

But not the one you expected.

The last couple of bedtime checks, I have done my customary roost count, to find myself one Plymouth Barred Rock short. This happens. Sometimes a straggler will be locked from the coop, and need to be corralled back into the fold. A quick 360 told me that was not the case last night and the night before; Abby was on her nest.

Which is weird. She has been known to lay past sunset and find her way up onto the roosts after dark, but she’d already laid during the day. And, when approached, she’d make that irritated growling noise I had been expecting from Buffy during my Grand Experiment, and had never received.

So, did she think she was laying late for the second time that day, or did she have another purpose in mind? This morning, that question was answered when I opened the run door, and my count came up short one Barred Rock. Abby was still on the nest. She’d slept there.

Ruh roh.

Abby, I’m reasonably sure, is going broody, if she’s not already there. She hasn’t actually pecked at me yet, but has a pretty good growl (see the video on the Heedley’s Hens Facebook page), and won’t let anyone near the nest. Which is a problem for Alexia, her nestmate.

This morning, I booted Abby out of the coop, and locked Alexia in, with 2.0 out loose, god help her. Abby continued to puff and strut and growl like a hormonally-challenged tom, even when out in the yard, wings dragging, the whole scene. Alexia laid her egg mercifully quickly, and Abby took over the nest, remaining there even to writing.

The second I approach her, she growls a harsh warning and puffs out all her feathers, thusly:

Now, there are no eggs underneath her. She did lay today, and I took that one away. Short of continuing to remove her from her nest, chickeneers, what can I do?


6 thoughts on “Heedley’s Hens get broody.

  1. Oh boy lol. Barred Plymouth Rocks are not known to go broody often, but they can do it. I am up to four broodies now. Driving me crazy those girls!!

    Can you get her fertile eggs from someone? Could you add just one more chick on day 21? If you can’t break her, I’d hate to see her time go to waste.

    It always happens this way!

    Oh and her behaviour – I call that Turkeying. The whole thing cracks me right up. My silkie was thrown out to poop this afternoon, and she walked around with her wings as far away from her sides as she could get. Bawking with each step. Bok bok bok and often a large screech as someone would near her. I actually have two silkies broody on the same nest. They keep stealing one another’s eggs. It’s amusing.

    One of them may not even weigh much over a pound. She is half the size of a regular silkie (which I know you don’t like, but they amuse me ;)

    Not sure if she could handle more than one chick. I have three eggs for them to share. One is due to hatch next weekend. The other two belonged to the other hen that just went broody on Thursday. I may have to separate them come hatch time for that one chick.

    Anyway.. You can’t waste a broody! Really.. You can’t ;)

    • Is that like “turn down a bower, lose for an hour”? (That joke is just for euchre players…)

      I’m going to have to waste her, because if I were to bring in fertilised eggs at this point, The Man would lose his shizz. He’s been very tolerant and I don’t want to push my luck. And, I may be chicked out.

  2. My nest area is built on a wire grate with a piece of plywood over it. Why? Because when a hen goes broody I take out the plywood and nest boxes – broody hens snap right out of it if you put them on wire grate. Get some air under her and things will change! good luck to you.

    • This is brilliant. I will attempt a variation. She has stopped laying now, and that it is NOT cool. I don’t mind the posturing and the growling, but I cannot afford to lose her eggs for goodness knows how long…

      • Indeed, glad I could offer a suggestion. Here where it’s 115 in the summer a broody hen who wont leave the nest can die in the coop where it’s even hotter! Luckily we are smarter and figure out ways to fix these little problems!

      • I’ve tried the ‘give them a cold bath’ approach, and it did nothing. Try the wire thing. I didn’t have anything to utilize like this, but I’ve heard it works!

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