Since everyone has been so helpful on this site, this is the first place I thought I'd turn when I have an emergency! Here's our issue:
We currently have 3 broody hens (Cream Puff, Mrs. B, and Marge). Cream Puff is sitting on eggs scheduled to hatch Monday-Wed. Mrs. B is sitting on eggs scheduled to hatch tomorrow, and one chick is now completely hatched and out of the shell. Marge is sitting on eggs, still laying so she's 21+ days out. As soon as I heard chicks peeping, I decided to move Mrs. B down to the floor so that the chicks wouldn't fall out of the nesting box area, since it sets up off the ground. My husband helped me block off another section of our coop to keep our broody hens in so that they wouldn't be pestered while chicks were hatching. In under 30 minutes of having the 3 hens together (spaced about 5 feet apart), Marge got up off her eggs and went out into the yard. Mrs. B went over and started to attack Cream Puff and when I shoo'd her away she went back to her nest and started pecking at her newly hatched chick!
The first thing I thought was that they didn't want to be moved. The second was that Mrs. B could now "see" another hen, which upset her. Before I came back up to the house tonight, I put everyone back into their place and all is well again. My husband and I are a loss as to what to do because we don't want to loose our chicks or accidentally curb a hens broodyness while she's hatching out. So frustrating!! When we let a hen hatch out before (Hashbrown), I moved her as soon as I heard chicks peeping and there was no issue. She got them up and out of the nesting box and cuddled with them in a corner before moving to a dog box we setup for them. We thought about making alternations to the roosting area so that hens could stay with chicks until they were able to walk around and all were hatched. I've put some pictures below to help with the visual aspect. In the picture I have labeled where each broody is and also the area of concern. Please help!! We don't want any chicks to die.
I'll make sure to update everyone as the weekend and week progresses and can let you know how everything works out as we try it. My husband thought that maybe we could build a ledge and extend the boxes out?
**Note: We also have done away with using straw since it flared up our allergies bad and also started to make our chickens ill. We have completely switched to pine shavings and have seen a drastic difference.