Welcome to Home Shalom!

Welcome to Home Shalom and Shalom Farm. We pray your visit here be blessed. We are learning to walk in the Ways (Torah) of our Father YHWH and follow Y'shua, His Messiah until He returns to "set things straight". We call it a "Messi-Life". Our walk is neither tidy nor perfect, but it is filled with passion, devotion and desire to serve our King. We are learning to be humble servants, and to be good stewards of the things that He has entrusted to us: His Word, our marriage, our children, our family, our community, our health, and our farm. Hitch your horse and stay a while--our door is always open!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Broody Hens

This week we prepared a second pen and did our "emergency reading" on what to do with a couple of hens that were going broody. This was very exciting because Road Island Reds aren't known to be particularly good instinctive mothers. And in our 3 years of keeping chickens we have never had one go broody so imagine our excitement! It was our prayer to be able to hatch out some of our own chicks and continue our layers each year so we have them laying in their prime while continuing to brood our new flock. We will mark these two mammas to see if they go broody again. If they do, they will not hit the pot as fast as the others! If this is something that we can continue to encourage, this will be wonderful! Because we won't have to repurchase layers again!! (That is our hope!) We had an old chicken tractor that was left behind by the previous owners that we had hoped to modify for our brooding hens, but when we pulled it out of the field it literally fell apart in our hands as we tried to move it. The wood was rotted all the way through. So (instead of doing what we had planned that day!) Ben got to building another one. He used the fence from the last one, and rebuilt the frame from scrap wood we had and put some boxes and a roof on a section of it. The boxes have an earthen bottom, because we read that it is better for the eggs in the latter stages of their development before they hatch. It has to do with the moisture received from sitting on the straw which sits on the ground. We read somewhere that it is best to separate the birds first and confirm that they are brooding. (They sit on a nest a lot and stops laying.) Check. An Amish man we know suggested that you transfer the hen quietly to a nest full of freshly laid eggs in the dark, for the smoothest transition. (He says that's what they do.) That is what we did and it seems to have worked. In 20-21 days, we hope to have about a dozen baby chicks chirping around their little cage!! We'll keep you posted. This post was shared on the Barn Hop #6


Enid said...

now that is totaly exciting!!

Anonymous said...

Wow! THat is great! I did not know this! We have had chickens for several years but we never wanted to hatch any chicks. We had one hen do this this past fall and we thought she might be done laying eggs or something. How exciting! Now I will be ever watchful. Thanks for sharing.

PaulaB52 said...

We had one of our Welsummers go broody on the 20th of March. The smartest thing we did was to seperate her from the flock and put her in her own little enclosure. Our chickens are so stupid, they would sit in the same box with her and lay eggs. This would give our broody hen a bunch of eggs that weren't ready to be hatchd and cause her stress.

We just had a turkey hatch some turkey poults and she must have had 30 chicken eggs under her. She was much to mean to try and stick my hand under her to pull some of them out. Because of this, only 4 poults hatched, two died coming out of the eggs and the rest didn't even hatch (out of a clutch of 8).

Good luck with your hen!

Mommy Set Free said...

Hi Paula,
That is very interesting! We are experiancing a wierd thing (or is it?) with one of our two broody hens. The first is brodding like clock work. No glitches - text book broody hen. But we have a second one, that has us on our toes. She is definatly broody but very finicky as to which box she sits in...and when we tried to seperate her - she wouldn't sit. She fights the other hens (who all want to lay int he same box too). Then out of no where when she gets up to get a drink, she will go to the other box that someone finally gave-in and layed a couple eggs in and sit on those abandoning the firt. Then we noticed the rest of the hens STOPPED LAYING!!! 0 eggs out of 21 hens 2 days ago! SO...we said ok missy...this is gonna stop. Youa re getting seperated again wether you sit or not...you need to be given a "time out" because you are disrupting the whole flock!! So we did the after dark switcharoo last night and we are observing the two isolated broody hens, and the flock to see hwo things unfold.

The first time we seperated our two broodies we put them in a large chicken tractor with 6 boxes...but #2 was crowding in with #1 and not sitting on her eggs and "making trouble" which is why we put her back in the flock...but this time, we split the tractor in two, given them their own private sections...so we will watch how this unfolds! :-)What an adventure this homestead learning process is!! never a dull momment!

I love to hear other's brooding experiances, we can all learn from one another and share tricks! :-)

We really want to do turkey's one day too...but DH wants us to (wisely) pace ourslves a little more, since we have so many new frotiers being forged right now...but I am looking forward to that time. I hope to see your posts on your turkey experiances!!
(Right now, we have wild turkey's prancing in our yard in mating season.) The hunting season started today too, so we hope get a couple of those (for the first time!!) this year. :-)