ever have a broody hen starve?

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Alrite, I've asked before about breaking this broody hen, but nothing has worked. She's not sitting on any eggs, and we can't deal with any chicks at the moment (so we can't just slip some under her). I'm worried because she has lost so much weight (I yank her out of the nest about every day to assess the damage). She's a cochin (for those who aren't familiar with the breed, they are big!), but right now she is so light! (started out maybe 4lbs, now more like 2). I'm wonderin if anyone has ever had a broody hen starve herself to death? Thanks!

-- Elizabeth (Lividia66@aol.com), April 23, 2001


We haven't had any starve but some are definitely persistant. I pull all our broodies off their nests at least 1x per day. I usually put them outside the coop or in a off area because of the large poop they make. I then give them some food (extra treats like bread crumbs too) and watch them so they get water also. Sometimes they try to go right back to the nest but I'm stubborn and eventually they go eat and drink. Only then do I let them back on the nests.

I don't know if this was suggested but did you try putting her in a suspended wire bottomed cage . I have heard that by suspending it it cools her and that sometimes break the broodiness.

Keep us posted on how things go.

-- Trisha-MN (tank@Linkup.net), April 23, 2001.

The idea of the cage is that you fasten it by only three corners so it will not tip over but it will not be stable and they most stand to keep it from tiping. I have not done this but I have heard of it being done Grant

-- grant (organicgrange@yahoo.com), April 23, 2001.

Fancier the correct way to break up a setting hen is this Put her in a cage like a rabbi hutch or a chicken cage 3x3ft and then in one corner put crossways in cage a cut off 2"x4" piece of wood. Now she only needs water and feed in the pen nothing else but the 2x4. Now when she is ready to go back to laying she will be setting on the 2x4 waiting for you to let her out. So let her set there two more days and reinsert her in the hen house. Easy way for more hints email me for a free sample of National Poultry News at frizzlebird@yahoo.com Glenda L. Heywood

-- Glenda L. Heywood (frizzlebird@yahoo.com), April 26, 2001.

The technique I use is the same one taught to me by my grandfather way-back-when. Remove the hen from the nest and put her "in jail". I use a wire cage these days, but my grandpa always used one made out of wood. Keep the hen in there for a couple-three days, then let her out. She will have forgotten about brooding. This has always worked for me, and I've had hens for 40 years.

I did keep a close eye on a couple broody hens one year, just because I was interested in their behavior. They usually left the nest about once a day, just to grab a quick bite to eat and a drink. Their metabolism seems to slow down when they brood, and they don't require as much nourishment as they would normally do when not broody.

I have gone so far as to stick some pheasant or partridge eggs under persistent broody hens, just so they can raise something. The pheasant and partridge babies follow her around the barnyard, and then when they are mature enough, they just fly off into the sunset. I obtain these wild bird eggs during haying season. My husband brings me the eggs when he's unintentionally destroyed a nest in the hayfield. My hens have raised ducks also. Neighbors know I have chickens, and some years I get more eggs than I have broody hens; then I have to break out the incubator and do it "the hard way".

Good luck with your chickens.

-- Lynn Bixler (ljbixler@dtgnet.com), April 26, 2001.

A physician once told me that if you take something for a cold, it'll be gone in 7 days. If your take nothing, it'll be gone in a week! :^)

I have found the same applies to the broody hen; if you cage her for a week to 10 days or just leave her alone, she'll eventually leave the nest! And dimes to donuts, she will repeat the action of going back to setting on a nest (with or without eggs) when she has a mind to. Altho you may never see it happen, the hen leaves the nest at least once a day to eat, drink, poop. Not to say it can't happen, but I haven't heard of a hen starving from being broody. My Bantam Cochins do this all the time, and I've never lost one. I leave them alone, unless I want them to hatch eggs. My opinion!

-- ~Rogo (rogo2020@yahoo.com), April 27, 2001.

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