Broody hen with a pale, shriveled comb...

Discussion in 'Poultry' started by mama2cntrykids, Jul 19, 2012.

  1. mama2cntrykids

    mama2cntrykids Member

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    We tried breaking her of the broodiness by putting her in a pet carrier with food/water for two days. My ds11 then let her out in the chicken yard. With-in three hours she was back in her nest. She hasn't been producing eggs for about a week. From the look of her comb, she isn't drinking/eating like she should.

    What's the next step? Do we make her in to stew? I've never killed a chicken before, I have a basic idea, but still...

    Thoughts?

    PS-We have no rooster either...with no plans for one.
     
  2. Cliff

    Cliff Well-Known Member

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    Their combs naturally look like that when they aren't laying. Something hormonal? If you can put her in a wire bottom cage up off the ground you'll have better luck breaking her up. She isn't hurting anything, I'd just give her a little time.

    I don't understand why you think she should be butchered? Because she went broody?
     

  3. KSALguy

    KSALguy Lost in the Wiregrass Supporter

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    you cant break her in a pet carryer, if you really want to get her to stop being broody you have to put her in a wire bottom cage up off the ground like Cliff said so that there is plenty of air circulation and she cant keep a warm spot, some even dip them in cold water to lower their body temp,

    the smaller pale comb is normal, only hens that are laying have big read combs,

    personally i would just go ahead and let her brood a clutch, nothing worng with her at all, a good broody hen is worth her weight in gold to alot of people,


    a dozen fertil eggs from someone else would make her very happy,
     
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  4. mama2cntrykids

    mama2cntrykids Member

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    Hi Cliff-I don't know a whole lot about hens yet, that's why I thought that *might* be the next step. I thought she was not eating/drinking because of the sickly looking comb.

    Thanks for letting me know a pale comb is normal for a hen that's not laying. I feel better about it now. I'm just concerned about her eating/drinking.

    I don't think we have a wire cage anywhere. Where could I get fertilized eggs from? After those hatched, wouldn't she still be broody?

    Maybe I'll have to look into a wire cage...

    Thanks a lot. I appreciate your experience (both of you)! It's a learning process, for sure!
     
  5. Cliff

    Cliff Well-Known Member

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    Ahh ok.

    Hens who are broody will only come off the nest once a day to eat and drink. Hens have been doing this for a long time, have trust in nature :)

    If she hatched chicks she would stay broody till she had them raised enough to be on their own. Around 2 more months after hatching more or less. So she wouldn't be laying for all that time.

    You can actually get hatching eggs lots of places. Some hatcheries sell them, Craigslist sometimes, ebay, and you can even just google "hatching eggs" and the breed you want. A lot of breeders sell hatching eggs.

    I don't know if you want to deal with chicks though being you purposely don't have a rooster? The young roosters will start crowing at around 12 weeks. And you'll have to figure out what to do with the extras. If you did hatch some though there are lots of people here that would be happy to help with advice and info. Plenty of butchering help here also.
     
  6. mama2cntrykids

    mama2cntrykids Member

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    Thanks for being so imformative Cliff. I appreciate it. Chicks wouldn't really be a big deal, I don't think. Once the roosters start crowing, we could butcher them, and keep the hens, right?

    Would the chicks and "mama" hen need to be kept seperate from the rest of the hens until the chicks are bigger? If so, we could do that, we have the set-up.
     
  7. KSALguy

    KSALguy Lost in the Wiregrass Supporter

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    look on craigs list and ask for fertil hatching eggs from someone local, they could be anything, put her in a nest that other hens cant/dont use, actually the pet taxi works great for this, make her a nest of hay in a pet taxi and at night move her to a safe place to hatch them, let her raise them, you can eat or sell the roosters and keep any pullets for your flock,

    some flocks do ok with a hen and chicks in with everyone else, some dont, i currently have two hens in the main flock that have chicks and another one setting, but some flocks dont accept chicks and you have to keep the hen and chicks in their own pen safe from the flock and preditors
     
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  8. Lannie

    Lannie Well-Known Member

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    I've had lots of hens hatch chicks and I've never had to separate them. Maybe it's the breeds I've had (Brahmas, Buffs, EEs, and mixes of those), but I've never had any kind of problems. In fact I PREFER the hens to hatch out babies so I don't have to do the work of brooding them, constantly monitoring their conditions, temperatures, feeding, etc. The mama will do all that and leave me free to do other things. I don't know about everyone, but one of my very favorite sights on the farm is a mama hen leading her chicks around and teaching them how to scratch and find bugs and seeds and stuff. I can sit and watch them for hours. :)

    ~Lannie
     
  9. Cliff

    Cliff Well-Known Member

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    You're welcome :)

    Roosters can start crowing around 12 weeks but I like to wait 16-20 weeks to butcher. That's for normal dual purpose birds.

    Is there any specific reason you guys don't want to keep a rooster? It's so much nicer to be able to be sustainable and let your hens raise replacements than to have to order from hatcheries every time you need more birds.