I have a young broody buff orpington. She went broody for the first time and sat in the nest box with or without eggs, puffed up like a pincushion. I moved her into a closed dog crate (2x3 feet) that is on the coop floor. I have a friend who has a flock of Buckeyes, and wanted to know if I'd let my hen sit on some of her eggs. So, as of last night, Pumpkin is sitting on 10 eggs (we tried 12, but two always stuck out). I have food and water in there with her (she is sitting in a box that is about 13x17 inches, lined with pine chips). I never see her get up, poop, drink, or eat in the box, so I get her out once a day (she's been sitting on wooden eggs for 4 days, just to make sure she was really broody). Today when I tried to pick her up, she went limp in an attempt to stay on the nest. I put her on the floor and she just puffed up and spread out like she was on the nest. I moved her to the coop door - same thing. Ended up pushing her out. She ran out, scratched around a bit, pooped her impressive broody poop, preened for about 15 minutes, ate some food, then got attacked by 3 other hens (maybe because she was all puffed up?).
So my question... am I doing the right thing by taking her off the nest for 15 minutes once a day? Or since she shows no inclination to get off, do I just keep water and food right in front of her? Don't really want her to poop in the nest box. If I should be getting her off the nest once a day, I think I'll put her in the yard without the other girls - they were pretty hard on her and her little puffed up self today.