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Broody hen sitting...now what?

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
I had a hen that kept sitting even though I have no roo so I went and picked up 6 fertile eggs. She's in a coop and run with 8 other hens. Should I move her or leave her be. I don't want to change locations and stress her out to not sit anymore!? Help?
post #2 of 7
There really isn't a definite answer to your question. I prefer to separate my broodies, because every time I leave them with the flock, other hens try to lay their eggs in the nest, and the broody's eggs end up getting broken. Some broodies can be moved without any trouble, some will aba ndon the nest. If you do decide to move her, I would suggest doing it at night, and with as little light and commotion as possible. If you don't, you might want to mark the fertile eggs and collect daily any extras she gets from other hens laying their eggs in her nest.

Chickens off and on for 25+ years and still learning.

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Chickens off and on for 25+ years and still learning.

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post #3 of 7

Could you somehow partition off an area in coop/run for her?  This would keep her and hopefully eventual  chicks safe from the others.  Generally a broody hen doesn't want to leave the nest to eat,drink or poo - unless you put her out and make her stretch her legs before going back.  If this is the case, she is probably just staying in one small area and you could fence her off and put food and water near her, so she doesn't have to leave the nest. Has she accepted the eggs?

 

Sending good hatching vibes your way:jumpy

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post #4 of 7
Thread Starter 
Thanks so much! Going to look in to doing some alterations today. I really appreciate your response! Truly...
post #5 of 7
A lot depends on your set up, and the size of the nest she is sitting on, and the personality of the hen. I had Butter sitting on the nest last night, and I am praying, hoping and my fingers are crossed that she is on there this morning! I love hatching chicks with a broody hen. Once you go broody, you never go back to that brooder box.

I have moved mine, only to have them abandon my choice to go back to their choice. Ugh! My nests are pretty small, about 10-12 inches wide. My broody is aggressive, and I leave her in the midst of the flock. She is experienced, and takes care of all. Now she will not hatch 100%, more than likely, and sometimes in the first few days I loose a chick that fails to thrive. I can accept that.

Every couple of days, I take a towel down, carefully remove her from the nest, cause sometimes she will have an egg tucked under a wing, and check the eggs. Often times, she will add someone elses eggs to her clutch, or they will lay there, when she is off the nest. Mark the eggs you want to hatch and keep removing any other eggs. She will nearly stagger when she first gets off, but kind of snaps out of it, go out and terrorize the layers, dust bathe, eat a bit, get a drink and come back to sit some more. I check her morning and night to make sure she is in the right spot. Once, she did get on the nest next to where she had been sitting and the eggs were cool to the touch, I just moved her back, and the eggs later hatched right on schedule.

By keeping her with the flock, she rises in pecking order, they continue to accept her as part of the flock, and when the chicks hatch, they give her a great deal of room and while they will peck a chick, they are terrified of broody when she comes over to protect the chick. Within days, the chicks are part of the flock and there are no integration issues later.

If you separate the broody completely, then when you introduce her back into the flock, she comes as a stranger, the flock does not recognize her and will attack her and her chicks.

Mrs K
Edited by Mrs. K - 6/18/15 at 6:06am
Western South Dakota Rancher
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post #6 of 7
Thread Starter 
Looking back, I never really thanked you, Mrs K. You have some great info and my broody and 6 chicks did great! I live in town and have ten hens now. I started with pullets, bought chicks in the spring and then one went broody so I picked up some fertile eggs and she hatched them perfectly! I even processed the roosters because we can't have neucence animals in city limits. That was an experience and one I hope I don't have to do often. I learned a lot and feel like I have experienced the whole process now. Plus, I made some awesome chicken and noodles! Thanks again for the info - everyone!
post #7 of 7


You are welcome! I am glad it worked out. It is really a wonderful thing, this website, where we can all learn and share!

Western South Dakota Rancher
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