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Broody Chicken-Moving her without breaking this broodiness?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by mustangrooster, Dec 1, 2016.

  1. As it hints in the title...i have another...yes, another broody chicken. This gal' is the sweetest girl i have ever seen when it comes to brooding.

    She has tried a number of times to hatch chicks, expect she chooses where to wants to brood, and the rain always swamps and kills her eggs!
    I've tried moving her when she was broody a few months ago, expect i was in a hurry and i stupidly did it in the day time and that broke her broodiness..Well, (Note she is one of my free range chickens) shes picked a perfect spot in the long thick grass way out in the horse pasture, and guess what? Its suddenly raining hard every night. Its killed half of her nest, and im afraid her whole nest might wipe out again.

    How would i take to moving her? I dont usually move broodies once they set, but for the sake of her, i need to move her..Or she'll fail at hatching chicks once again and i cant let that happen. Problem? She hates being moved, how would i effectively get her into a nest box, and move her to a area, where she not only has shade, but where i can keep my eye on her? Shes made her own nest, so i would have to move her eggs, and get her into a nest box. Her eggs are due to hatch soon, and i dont want break her broodiness just before her eggs are due to be hatching!

    Any tips?


  2. azygous

    azygous Free Ranging

    Dec 11, 2009
    Colorado Rockies
    It sounds as if you have a big risk of any attempt at moving her nest resulting in failure. But you can try. Just accept it may not work.

    I'm just operating on intuition here, but I would fix a nest up using the same material as the nest she built in the pasture. I would make the nest in a place where she can be confined with no way to abandon the nest except to refuse to sit on it. In other words, lock her in.

    Then, having prepared the nest, access to food and water, perhaps a small area to dirt bathe in, which is important to a brooding hen, I would move her and the eggs at night. Place her and turn the light out and leave.

    When she wakes in the morning, she either accepts she and her eggs are in a new place or she will abandon the eggs, refusing to sit on them.

    I hope some others will have some better ideas.
  3. Maybe build a shelter around her? I am thinking like a truck camper shell... Just put it over where she is to protect from the rain.... IDK, I do not even have chickens yet what do I know? Lol, good luck.

    Gary from Idyllwild Ca here
  4. rebrascora

    rebrascora Crowing

    Feb 14, 2014
    Consett Co.Durham. UK
    The way I see it, you have two choices:-

    1.Make a portable cover for her nest in the paddock to keep the rain off (you don't mention anything about predators which would be my primary concern more than the rain, but maybe you have none.

    2. Move her.

    If you opt for the latter I would make a portable nest box and move her nest, eggs and her into it at her chosen location in the paddock. Leave her to settle and then after dark go out and lift up the nest box with everything in it including her and move her to a new location. It may help to drape a towel over the whole lot to keep her settled. You will need to lock her in for several days as she is mentally programmed to return to her old site and will do so on autopilot after her daily broody break. Once she is settled to the new location let her out but supervise her return and if she goes back to the paddock, either carry the nest out there, let her settle on, drape the towel over her and carry back to confinement or pick her up and carry her back to her nest. Try again in a few more days. Hope that makes sense.

    Good luck with her. I hope she has success this time.


  5. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Free Ranging

    Feb 2, 2009
    Southeast Louisiana
    This is what is called a dilemma. You tried moving her before and it did not work, but as you said, your technique may not have been great. I’ve found when I move one that if I move her at night and lock her in a dark nest all the next day, and let her out the following morning she is a lot more likely to take the move. She does need to be locked in an area where she cannot go back to her old nest. This does not always work, she may still not accept the move and her eggs are about to hatch.

    Building an enclosure around her could work. There are different ways you could try. Lock her into a cage or confined area and set it up to keep her nest dry. If she is in a real low spot that may not work, ground surface water may get her nest wet.

    A variation of this. You could try building an elevated nest to get above the water where her current nest is and lock her in that for a day after switching the nests. That might work, it might not, and I’d have some concerns it could show a predator a spot worth investigating if you don’t build an enclosure around her. Growing up on the farm we had broody hens hide nests everywhere inside and outside of various farm outbuildings. As far as I know we never had a problem with a predator from that. But they are pretty good at hiding a nest.

    I’ll offer something different. Take her eggs and replace them with sacrificial eggs. Put her eggs in an incubator to see if you can hatch them, then give the chicks to her when they hatch. I’ve given incubator chicks to broody hens several times. Stick them under her at night just after they hatch and dry off. The younger they are the better. Again this doesn’t work for everyone but I’ve been really successful with this approach.
    1 person likes this.
  6. Folly's place

    Folly's place Free Ranging

    Sep 13, 2011
    southern Michigan
    I move my broody hens into a very large animal airline crate, which I set up during the day. In the dark, with a tiny flashlight, I move the eggs, part of her nest, and the hen, into the back corner. Then I creep away, and don't let her out, usually until after hatching. Food and water in the crate. Mine is in the coop, because that's were the hen starts to brood. You might set up your cage very close to her current nest, rather than moving her further away. She likes it there! Dry and predator proof are what she needs. Mary

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