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Thursday, July 15, 2010

Chicken Question

My chickens are three years old now.  I originally had thirteen, but got rid of eight.  About a year and a half later, two of my chickens were murdered by what I think was weasels.  A couple months after that, my chickens started acting weird.  Two of the hens stay in one little cubical side by side or on top of each other.  I don't think that they are eating or drinking any water.  Every time I go in to check on them, I try to move them, but they nip at me.  I'm not sure what to do.  Can you please help?

Ohh...those pesky weasels! I hope it didn't kill your favorites, the pests somehow know which ones are the owners favorites. Anyways...I have a question for you, are the girls sitting on eggs? There is a possibility that they have gotten broody, meaning they want to become a mama and are sitting on eggs. They tend to get very snippy and protective of their eggs when they are broody. Let me know, if that isn't it, we will investigate further!

I lifted them up today and there were no eggs.  I tried to get them to move around a bit because they haven't been eating and they just went right back down to where they were before.

They can still get broody, even if they aren't sitting on eggs. It is her motherly instinct kicking in and they want to be mamas. Hens can get very mean (mama bear mean) when they are are broody which would explain why they nip at you when you try to move them.  Broody hens tend to eat and drink vigorously, and race back to the nest. Is there a way for your to discourage them from sitting in the nest? Could you block off their nesting boxes in the late afternoon and all night? Forcing them to get out of their nesting boxes should help them snap out of it.

Readers, what do you think? Are her girls broody? Is there something else it could be? If you think they are broody, what do you suggest she do?


A.Rhodes said...

I have a hen doing the exact same thing right now, I believe she is broody, even though she has no eggs under her. We were in sort of the same situation, started with 12 hens and over a perior of 3 nights lost 6. I think your hens are just broody, at least I hope that is all it is.

Rachel said...

Sounds like they're broody to me. She can always do what seems to work for us to break them (though when we do it we're not trying to break them). Move them at night to a new location unfamiliar to them and separate them from the rest of the flock. They'll get over it quick!

The Goatherd said...

They sound like they are acting broody. We have found that with free-range hens, it's easier to join them then to break them....give them some eggs to sit on. They just may hatch some out...assuming you have a rooster.

Tami said...

The last hen I had go broody I tried for days to break. She wouldn't break. Enough was enough so I took her out, put her in a large dog travel crate with food and water. She wasn't happy but eventually calmed down. After putting her in around 8pm one evening, leaving her in for the next day and next night, she was broke and began laying eggs within a week.

katiegirl said...

Definitely sounds like a broody to me. I've heard you can put icecubes under them to break them of it, or you can give them eggs to hatch. I've got 2 broodies right now. One has been broody since March. It's a pain, but I just take her out of the nest every day and collect the eggs.

The Gelatt's said...

They sound broody to me. One must remember that going "broody" is part of a hens nature, and not a bad thing if you want to have her incubate some eggs for you. However, if that is not what you want, there are 2 tricks that generally work to break up the broody hens - either place the hen in a wire bottom cage where the cool drafty air will prevent her from setting, or place a "clutch" of ice cubes on her regular nest. Yet, I think it is best to let them brood as again this is part of their nature. They will snap out of it eventually.