1st Broody Hen - Questions


9 Years
Mar 14, 2010
Montgomery County
My first hen went broody yesterday. I do have 1 rooster & 7 hens total so I am pretty sure the eggs should be fertile & I am willing to let her hatch some out. She found a nest with 6 eggs in it yesterday & only got off of them for about 15 minutes last night to eat & get a drink....the whole time she was off she was fluffed up & make strange noises. Here are my questions.....

1. Is is ok to put a few more eggs under her today by this afternoon or is it too late sine the other eggs will be about a day old now?

2. Should I move her nest since she is currently in all of the hens favorite nest box? What kind of set up should I have for her? What is the best way to set this up? I have a large wire dog crate I coould put her in that would have enough room for a nest box, food & water dish - would this be good?
Congratulations on your broody hen.

Don't add any eggs. You want the eggs to hatch as close together as possible.

Yes, move her so other hens don't have access. If they get in while she is out, they will lay more eggs; and the mother hen may get confused and go to another nest box. It can work, but you leave youself open for a lot of error.

You want her someplace she feels safe and comfortable. Can you move the nest she is using into the dog cage? It may be bigger than you need, but I think it would work. Move her at night. Do it as soon as possible and hopefully she will settle in.

Good luck. It is so wonderful to see a mother hen with chicks.
Thanks Deborah! She did get off of her nest box for about 1/2 hour today to eat & drink but then went back to her eggs. It was about 85-90 here today so I hope she was not off too long. I am going to make her broody area tonight as one of the hens did sneak in & lay another egg while she was off the nest.
I used a large dog kennel for one hatching and it was perfect.
I think you can move the whole kit and kaboodle very gently, and preferably at night, to a secluded spot.
If she is leaving the nest for 20-30 min a day, thats perfect. when chicks hatch, she will keep them close for several days. if you can expose the kennel to a run, thats perfect. she will know when to take them out.

Hope she turns out to be a great mom!
Definitely wait until night time to move her. Sometimes being moved will upset the hen, though. If you can, put the crate in a place that has similar lighting and temperature as the original box, and possibly less traffic as well. I try to face the new box the same direction as the old one, too; I've had hens take offense because the new box was facing the wrong way. You can also help by partly covering the crate on one or two walls and possibly the top with paper feed bags: it creates a visual barrier and may make her feel safer. Good luck!
Before you move her you may want to consider letting her hatch them where she is. My broody did just that. Even picked the favorite box, top one third row up, go figure. She had four chicks out of 4 eggs and on day two she was calling the chicks down. That was the only thing she needed help with. I had made her a penned off area that the chicks could run to but the other hens coulcn't but it wasn't really nessessary, cause mama protected them and in a short time they had been accepted by the others. But the pen came in handy cause I could keep the hens out of their food. I will have to say Ma Ma did an exceptional job considering she was only 20 wks old when she went broody. The pic below was taken this evening. I try not to miss Kodac moments lol. She has a box in the penned area but decided to brood them there to tonight.

I think I am goig to have to let hatch them where she is. I had her new cage set up in the curent coop (thier coop is enormous) & made sure I propped it up on hay bales so it was the same height & faced her new box in the right direction. It looked like she was going to be ok at first, but after a few minutes she went hysterical trying to get out & back to her nest box....she did not care about her eggs in her new crate. So, I ended up moving her eggs back to her original nest box & the minute I put her back in it she calmed down. This is an old picture, but the nest box closest to the window is the one she is in. The only thing that worries me is that this is all of the hens favorite nest box & someone she accumuted 2 extra eggs since yesterday.

As I had mentioned earlier, the nest she chose was the favorite nest box of the group. This hen that is broody ranks somewhere in the middle of 7 hens. This morning I hear quite a ruckus going on in the coop so I went in to investigate. The top hen (a barred rock) had kicked her off the nest & she was frantic trying to get her nest back. So, I took all of her eggs back from the BR & put them in the nest box right next to that one & put her in it. She shuffled her eggs around for few second & settled right down. Hopefully she will be ok now that she is not in the favorite box.

Oh & I just thought this was funny. My husband keeps referring to the broody hen as the brood mare.....can you tell he has been around horses too long, lol.

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