A Broody Hen, A Clutch of Eggs, and No Rooster

Author: Meera, September 5, 2014

 

 

A broody chicken, like my Buff Orpington shown here, may peck you if you try to disturb her

A broody chicken, like my Buff Orpington shown here, may peck you if you try to disturb her

 

 

My little yellow Buff Orpington {as yet unnamed) has gone broody. I didn’t know this behavior could happen so early in her young life. At 20 weeks, she’s only just started laying eggs. Now all she wants to do is sit on them.

 

 

Like an expectant mother, she contentedly sits, apparently anticipating the arrival of her chicklets (in 21 days). I don’t have the heart to tell her that she needed a rendezvous with a rooster to get eggs that will hatch. And, in case she hasn’t noticed, we don’t have a rooster.

 

 

 

She’s become a fixture on the nesting box, forcing the other chickens to lay their eggs in the other two. Buff O. sits on the eggs (who knows how many are under her) with a glazed look in her eyes. If I go near her nesting box, she puffs up and ruffles her feathers like an attack chicken.

 

 

She must leave the nest to eat, drink, and poop . . . . but I haven’t witnessed it, so I have put containers of food and water near the nest. I don’t want her losing weight or getting sick during her sit-in.

 

 

At first, sensing that she was behaving strangely and fearful that something be wrong with her, I began searching the Internet. Apparently some breeds like Silkies, and Cochins have a tendency to go broody. And, they can go broody more than once during the year. See, http://blog.mypetchicken.com/2012/02/01/what-is-a-broody-hen.

 

 

Apparently, dictated by their biology, laying hens decide to sit on a clutch of eggs, even rolling other chickens’ eggs under them if there aren’t enough. The laying hen will rotate her body to redirect heat evenly over the eggs or pluck out her own chest feathers to create more warmth and moisture for the eggs. In the case of my hen, I’m trying to imagine a bare-chested chicken sitting on a clutch of eggs that will never hatch.

 

 

Broody hens will even talk to the eggs (and the little chicks growing inside). It’s mommy business they are attending to. However, once a hen has gone broody, she will stop laying. And as for the mommy business, I have no idea how my Buff Orpington will¬† figure out that those eggs she’s so carefully guarding . . . well, they’re just eggs.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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