A different broody hen question....


10 Years
Feb 12, 2009
NW Florida
I see several questions about working with a broody, but none seem to be asking what I need to know. My broody is in a large cage on my back porch. She could stand up and leave the eggs by walking a couple of feet away, but she would sort of have to bend over (it's a low ceiling in the cage). When I put her in there with the eggs, I did not see her leave the nest at all, so I got nervous and put the food and water in front of her (in case she felt the ceiling was too low, and thought she couldn't get to it across the 4.5 foot cage). So for the last almost-three-weeks, I have put the food and water within her reach, she does not have to move a muscle to eat and drink. She is eating and drinking.

However, she still did not seem she was going to get off the nest to poo. So I have been taking her off the nest once a day for about 5 minutes - she stands there dazed for about 30 secs, then starts picking at the ground, scratches her face on both sides, then does a big overall fluff with a loud cackle, and POOS. Then she does her egg song constantly until I put her back in the cage, where she will settle right back onto the eggs.

My concern is this: My friend read to me something about broody hens, that you weren't supposed to "disturb" them at all for the last 3 days of the 21-day incubation. Also that if you have eggs in an incubator, you are supposed to turn off the rotation for the last 3 days so the chicks can find their way to facing up for proper pipping.

Should I NOT get her off the nest once a day for poo-time? What will happen? Can she hold her poo for 3 days? She is still eating and drinking, and it's in the mid- to high- 90's during the day, so she is drinking water.

I'm scared if I don't get her off the nest for poo-time that she will either poo in the nest or suffer toxicity like a constipated/blocked human (if her instinct is SO good that she WILL NOT poo in her nest). I'm scared if I take her off the nest for poo-time that the eggs will be disturbed and baby chicks will drown in the fluid instead of hatching properly. HELP!!!!

Today is day 20 of 21. Do I take her off and let her poo?


11 Years
Nov 19, 2008
Leave her alone. Do not take her off the nest anymore at this stage. The worst that could happen is that she will poo in the back of the nest box, but that is unlikely. She can hold it - but even if she couldn't she is more likely to turn around and crap out the front.

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