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 Post subject: 3 Broody hens
PostPosted: Tue Feb 24, 2009 7:13 am 
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Dapper Duck
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2 silky and a buff Frizzle pullets have gone broody, between them they sitting on 22 eggs. But this is where it becomes sticky, they all sitting next to each other in one big nest box very happily. silkies are first time moms, so now I am wondering will they adopt a few chicks each or how am I going to deal with this? :grouphug: We are busy sorting out a portable chook home for the little ones and moms. The 2 roosters get on quite well I am thinking of getting 2 larger pullets , for eggs and will have to build another home for them as well.


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 Post subject: Re: 3 Broody hens
PostPosted: Tue Feb 24, 2009 7:25 am 
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Champion Bird
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Seperate the broodies if possible, they might just kill each others chicks.

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 Post subject: Re: 3 Broody hens
PostPosted: Tue Feb 24, 2009 7:33 am 
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The chicks may hatch over a period of days if eggs were still being laid in the nest after the first hen started to sit. If you leave the hens together for the moment you can separate the first lot of chicks off with one hen and so on. - if necessary.

There are no rules and you probably will just have to "play it by ear" - keep an eye on them and be ready to intervene if necessary but there is a good chance that they will continue to sit together without problems and jointly raise their brood.

You can never have too many extra small pens - not just for broodies but if for any other reason you need to separate a bird or small number from birds from the flock.

Good luck1 :)


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 Post subject: Re: 3 Broody hens
PostPosted: Tue Feb 24, 2009 7:34 am 
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I would agree with Lclem. Separate them into three separate box and give them a third each. Have the cages completely separate. We hear a lot of sad stories of chicks who don't make it in mixed cages (despite occasional successes). Play it safe. Keeping them separate also prevents other hens laying more eggs in the pile. Then you don't know how far along each of the eggs are and you lose chicks when the broodies get off when the early ones hatch.

If you're going to move them, get all your boxes and cages ready, then do it at night when it's dark. Don't shine a torch on the birds, just away from them to give you a little bit of light. You will have less problems if you do it quickly, in the dark, and with the least amount of fuss.

Broodies need to be made to get off the eggs once a day to eat, drink and poop. Once they are settled again, you'll need to ensure they are doing that.

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 Post subject: Re: 3 Broody hens
PostPosted: Tue Feb 24, 2009 8:15 am 
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Old Mother Goose
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I tend to leave mine together and when the first chicks hatch remove one hen and give her the chicks leaving the other to hatch out the later chicks, but then I have never had good success moving hens while they are broody----if I have 3 hens all broody together I remove one, just leaving 2, I find a few days locked with a roo and no nest makes them no longer broody,----as has been said you can never have too many small pens, I run out all the time--- good luck with your hatch,cheers pam

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 Post subject: Re: 3 Broody hens
PostPosted: Tue Feb 24, 2009 12:38 pm 
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Dapper Duck
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Most of the eggs have light creamy shells which I am 95% sure would be buff frizzle pekin eggs, and a few white ones. Gave the little girl (5) next door eggs for her tea, first time she ever held a chook, all new to her this eco thing. Even took worms from the worm farm for show and tell, no chookies sorry.

The hens do get off for a feed and drink, a little gentle shove helps. :wink:
Is there anything chooks must not eat?

Thanks for all help.


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 Post subject: Re: 3 Broody hens
PostPosted: Tue Feb 24, 2009 12:57 pm 
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Have you treated them for lice? That's very important as the parasites can build up while they are sitting for a while. It can make them leave the nest if it gets too bad. I dust with pestene and also use moxidectin.

Never feed chooks avocado, that's about the worst one I can think of. Mind, you chooks are pretty smart and tend to avoid it anyway. Also avoid foods that are very high in salt. Even though they need a little salt, that's in their feed. They can't process a lot of salt and too much is toxic to them. Things like ham or salted sausage should be avoided. Best to eat them yourself. :biggrin: Same applies to oil. Don't tip the drippings from your cooking in the chook scraps, it's no good for them.

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 Post subject: Re: 3 Broody hens
PostPosted: Tue Feb 24, 2009 1:54 pm 
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Showy Hen
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They really should be seperated.

- Put the first 6 chicks to hatch under the largest hen and distribute her unhatched eggs among the other two hens. When she has 6 chicks remove her from her nesting box and put her in a pen with her 6 chicks.
- As further chicks hatch add them to those under the largest hen. Do this at night.
- When she has 12 chicks, stop, and do the same with the next largest hen.


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 Post subject: Re: 3 Broody hens
PostPosted: Tue Feb 24, 2009 2:18 pm 
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Dapper Duck
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Yep Chicken07, I liced on Friday, removed all the bedding and cleaned the run & sleeping area, put lime everywhere, walls and run and outside around the whole run. Then powdered and puffed all chooks around vents and wings with powder I got from the agro shop. Replace bedding with sugar cane mulch instead of oaten hay.


Last edited by chester on Tue Feb 24, 2009 3:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: 3 Broody hens
PostPosted: Tue Feb 24, 2009 2:35 pm 
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Champion Bird
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One thing to add. If they started sitting on different days then they probably laid some eggs after the first one started sitting and so the bubs may be born on different days. So remove one hen with the first batch to hatch - how ever many they are. Same for second hen but make sure you leave at least one egg for the last one. I guess you need to play it a bit by ear. Given their breed you can probably redistribute chicks within the first day or two if you want to make it more even. Good luck


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 Post subject: Re: 3 Broody hens
PostPosted: Mon Mar 02, 2009 5:38 am 
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Dapper Duck
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Just to update on this situation, by the time we got home from work the chicks(4) had hatched, could be during the prev. evening. Never checked the nest as we leave at 4am. So thought best to leave then as is,in hind sight a mistake. Stayed home the next day to complete the new hatch for a hen & chicks finishing it by 8pm, had dinner and just to buggered to move them then but did move mum and 2 chicks at 4am(lost a few on the way...trampled or just shoved out?) not to conserned as there were still a few eggs left. anyways hens gave up on the eggs.

Nexttime I will be more perpared......2 more hatches on to do list.


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 Post subject: Re: 3 Broody hens
PostPosted: Mon Mar 02, 2009 9:52 am 
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Post removed as it was not informative or helpful.
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 Post subject: Re: 3 Broody hens
PostPosted: Sat Apr 04, 2009 7:12 am 
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Dapper Duck
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The chicks are a few weeks old by now and doing really well. They have had 2 outings with Ginger and stayed close to her, she is a good mum, protective but other silkies have not bothered her any. How long before I could put them with the rest of the chooks.?


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 Post subject: Re: 3 Broody hens
PostPosted: Sat Apr 04, 2009 9:48 am 
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Golden Robin
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Hens intensely dislike other hens chickens and will try to kill them.

Its not a good idea to put chickens with older hens until they are almost full grown and well and truely old enough to look after themselves. Dont count on the mother hen protecting the chicks from a hen who is higher in the peck order.

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 Post subject: Re: 3 Broody hens
PostPosted: Sat Apr 04, 2009 9:49 am 
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The longer you can keep them separate, the better. The other hens can attack the chicks as the establishment of the pecking order is a natural instinct even for gentle birds. Some people wait until the chicks at 8 weeks old and then combine. People say that's been successful, but I still think there is risk & would not recommend it myself. By then the broody has often forgotten about the chicks and they are in a mixed aged pen.

My concern about mixed aged pens is that the younger chicks are lower in the pecking order and don't get equal access to food. This can affect their growth. They are also subject to bullying before they are old enough to be able to cope with it. They can get killed, injured, or stressed. They should also be on a grower crumble, not on the same food as the adults. Also, mixing with the adults can expose them to extra parasites and diseases that don't have any affect on the older birds. So the likelihood of illness is higher.

I would try to keep them separate until the broody is sick of them. Then put her back into the run and keep the chicks separate so you can feed them differently and protect their health.

(Mike has posted, but I'll still drop this in.)
C'07s is better worded and a more detailed explanation - Mike

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