I am new to having broody hens and it's getting pretty stressful! Weather here is terrible. 28 degrees and an ice storm. My hen hatched 3 babies in the nest box, inside the chicken coop on Friday/Saturday. This morning I was outside and I heard a baby crying. So I went to investigate. There was 1 baby out of the nest box (there's about an 8 inch lip on the box) and the baby could not get back in with mom. He was cold and crying like crazy and mom was just sitting there like nothing. So I put him back under her. I put up a heat lamp because I was worried if it happened again and I was not around the baby wouldn't have much time before he froze. I've never used a heat light inside the coop before. I also put a chick feeder and waterer, right outside the nest box, so mom can bring the babies out to eat and drink but she hasn't yet. I'm nervous about the light so I went back out to check now and again the one baby was out of the nest and crying. And mom is just sitting there. It's about 50 degrees in there now with the light. Is this normal for the baby to keep leaving the nest solo? How is she going to get them all in and out of the nest box?? Should I seperate her and the babies and bring them inside?? Any advice is appreciated. This hen was a year old when I got her, so I don't know if she's ever been a mom before now.
Build them a new nest on the floor, toddling chicks will explore and short of placing a wire fence over the front of the current nest box you won't keep them in it.
If mama still has eggs she may be torn between getting up with the hatched chicks and staying on the eggs...
Just prepare a low sided box or even just a pile of soft hay in a quiet corner, dish the center out a bit, move chicks and remaining eggs to floor nest and mama will follow. If she thinks she still has eggs under her she may be reluctant to move but you can pick her up and place her on the floor beside her new nest and she should be easy to coax into it.