2 questions regarding our broody hen

bobochicks

In the Brooder
May 18, 2015
6
0
17
Northern CA
Hello!

We have a broody barred rock. She's been sitting in her nesting box for about a week now. Last night we slipped some fertile eggs under her. Two questions have come up since then:

1. The nesting boxes in our 2 level henhouse are adjacent to a raised roosting area with a ladder to get down into the floor of the coop and out to free range in our yard (two photos below). Should we move her somewhere closer to the ground so that her chicks won't fall once they are mobile? Or should we turn the ladder into more of a (pretty steep) ramp? And if we should move her, when is the best time? Now or after they hatch?

2. When I calculated the incubation period I realized that the eggs will hatch right before we go out of town for a week. Is it a bad idea to be out of town for the early days, even if we've got them well set up with food and water? Or should we just let mama hen do her thing? And if it's best for us to be here, can we wait another week to put eggs under her? Will her broodiness last that long? She's already been broody for about a week.

Thank you for any guidance you have. This forum is so helpful!!
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clawstar

Songster
6 Years
Jan 1, 2014
472
38
106
Lake Stevens, WA
I would consider separating her. The chicks won't do well with that ladder (and probably a steep ramp as well) for a few weeks (3?) after hatching... It looks like it would be easy to lock the other chickens out, and her in, the coop. If your run is secure, weather is good, and you don't have may hens, you could add a roost in the run for them temporarily as the chicks grow. Leaving the chicks in the main flock and leaving town sounds like trouble... Otherwise setting them up with food, water, and a neighbor to check in daily, they should be good after hatching. My broody sat for almost a month before we gave her eggs, she hatched the chicks and STILL sat on the empty egg shells for another day. Every hen is different but if they are determined, they will sit until they have chicks.

The coop is the safest place for her as she lays, as long as the others don't bother her. Once they hatch you can move them but she may try to return to the nest in the coop nightly
 

bobochicks

In the Brooder
May 18, 2015
6
0
17
Northern CA
This is super helpful. And good idea to lock the others out and give her and her little ones the whole upstairs. Do you think I should do that now or wait til closer to hatch time? I'd like her to still have access to outdoors, but maybe she wouldn't care? Thank you!!
 

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