Broody Hen Dilemma: Understanding the Quirks of Two Hens Nesting Together
I find myself facing a peculiar situation in my beloved chicken coop and I could really use your insights. Prepare to be amused! It all started with one broody hen who couldn’t resist the call to nest, but now, against all odds, I have not one but two hens that have embarked on a joint brooding adventure!
Despite our efforts to gently discourage them, these determined hens keep returning to their chosen spot. To add to the comedy, I recently stumbled upon the sight of one hen perched on top of the other!
As I ponder the hilarity of the situation, I can’t help but question the normality of this behavior. While my research informed me that hens can remain broody for up to 21 days, the presence of two broody hens simultaneously has left me scratching my head.
So, let’s dive into this delightful and puzzling phenomenon together, and uncover the secrets behind our double broody trouble!
Understanding Broody Hens
Broodiness is a natural instinct in hens, where they become highly dedicated to hatching eggs. During this time, their hormonal changes make them want to nest and incubate eggs. It’s common for hens to exhibit broody behavior by sitting on a nest for extended periods, even if there are no eggs to hatch. However, having two hens brooding together is a bit out of the ordinary.
Possible Explanations for Two Broody Hens
Sometimes, hens within a flock can synchronize their hormone levels, leading to multiple hens becoming broody simultaneously. This phenomenon is more likely to occur when the hens are close in age and have a strong bond.
Let’s imagine a scenario where you have a flock of hens that were all raised together from a young age. As they mature, their hormones may align, causing them to enter the broody state together. This synchronization can result in multiple hens wanting to nest at the same time. It’s as if they have a shared biological clock that triggers their broody behavior simultaneously. So, if you find yourself with two broody hens, it’s likely that their hormones have synchronized, making them “nesting buddies.”
Hens tend to prefer the same nesting spot as other broody hens. If one hen starts nesting in a particular area, it can attract other broody hens to join her. The comfort and security of a shared nesting space can be appealing to broody hens.
Imagine that you have a cozy corner in your coop with soft bedding, perfect lighting, and a sense of privacy. One hen discovers this ideal nesting spot and starts her broody journey there. As other hens observe her dedication and notice the comfort of the chosen spot, they might be inclined to join in. It’s like they form a “broody club” where they all gather together, creating a sense of camaraderie in their nesting pursuit.
Managing Two Broody Hens
Providing Alternative Nesting Options
If your hens insist on nesting together, it’s essential to provide sufficient nesting space. Set up additional nesting boxes or areas to accommodate their nesting preferences. This way, each hen can have her own space while still sharing the experience.
As a solution to their shared broody adventure, consider creating extra nesting areas within your coop. By providing multiple nesting boxes or designated spaces, you give each broody hen the opportunity to have her own nest while still being close to her “nesting buddy.” This arrangement ensures that they can pursue their broody desires without overcrowding a single nesting spot.
Regularly Removing Eggs
If you don’t want your hens to hatch eggs, it’s crucial to remove them regularly. Leaving eggs in the nest can reinforce broody behavior. Collect eggs frequently to discourage nesting behavior and break the cycle.
To prevent the hens from fully committing to their broody state, it’s important to remove any eggs they may be sitting on. This helps break the cycle and discourages them from continuing their broody behavior. Remember to be diligent in collecting eggs from the nesting boxes to avoid reinforcing their broodiness.
Creating a Distraction
Sometimes, providing a distraction can help redirect the broody hens’ focus. Introduce new elements or activities in the coop to engage them and divert their attention from nesting. This can include providing new toys, introducing treats, or rearranging the coop layout. By keeping their minds occupied, you can help discourage their broody behavior.
Interrupting the Nesting Routine
Breaking the hens’ nesting routine can also help snap them out of their broody phase. Gently and consistently remove them from the nesting boxes whenever you find them sitting. This interruption can help disrupt their nesting pattern and eventually discourage their broodiness.
Introducing a “Broody Box”
If your hens are determined to be broody, you can create a dedicated space for them to nest. Set up a separate area, commonly known as a “broody box,” equipped with comfortable bedding and a secluded environment. This allows the broody hens to fulfill their nesting instincts without disrupting the rest of the flock. Remember to provide food and water within reach of the broody box to ensure their well-being.
Considering Breeding Options
If you have the resources and willingness to expand your flock, you can consider introducing fertilized eggs or chicks to the broody hens. Allowing them to experience the joy of motherhood can help satisfy their broodiness. However, keep in mind that raising chicks requires commitment and adequate preparation.
Having two hens brooding together is an entertaining and somewhat unusual occurrence. Whether it’s due to synchronized hormones or a shared nesting preference, observing hens nesting side by side can be quite a sight.
Remember to provide alternative nesting options, remove eggs regularly, create distractions, interrupt the nesting routine, or set up a dedicated broody box if necessary.
Ultimately, understanding and managing broody hens allows you to maintain a harmonious coop environment while respecting their natural instincts. Embrace the humor and uniqueness of the situation, and enjoy the fascinating behaviors of your broody hens. Happy chicken keeping!