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Broody hen advice needed

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by wrestling_mom, Sep 11, 2013.

  1. wrestling_mom

    wrestling_mom Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 3, 2011
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    We have been given 2 ducks, 2 fainting goats,and 13 chickens- one roo, the rest are hens. Saturday we are planning to transport them to our house, about a 25 minutes drive. I really think one of the hens is sitting on some eggs, b/c one, Rene told us there were probably a BUNCH of eggs in there, as they hadn't been collected in several days.We found a couple, but on the top nesting box,is a hen sitting. We have come at different times of the day to feed and water them, so I don't think she is laying an egg, she also snipped at my husband when he tried to put some food up there with her.IF she is broody, how cn we safely move her and her eggs? I have never had a broody hen before. We also plan to keep them in a separate area from our other chickens for a least one month, and after that,we hope to integrate them together.
     
  2. Judy

    Judy Moderator Staff Member

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    Moving a broody may break her broodiness, or it may not. It's probably less likely to break her if you can move the nest and all, or at least the nesting material, and if you can make the move at night. But she might tolerate a daylight move to a new nest just fine; you just never know.

    They need to get up daily to eat, drink, poop and get a bit of exercise. They will lose weight anyway, and are more prone to lice/mites, sore joints, and probably some other health concerns. I wouldn't put the broody's food too close to her nest, in order to encourage her to move aorund a bit. If she is truly broody, she will be right back on the nest in a little while, usually about 10 to 20 minutes. Mark the eggs you think she will hatch with a Sharpie, so if the other hens add to the nest or remove from it, you will know. Or, better yet, have her in her own private area until the chicks hatch. this is what I do. Once the chicks have hatched and she is taking them out of the nest to show te=hem food, water, forage, etc., then she can raise them in with the flock. She should protect them from any overly curious hen. The rooster will probably either help the mama or ignore the whole thing.

    If she collected the eggs herself, they are probably different ages. This means she will probably abandon some unhatched eggs to raise the live chicks. If you plan a broody hatch ahead, of course, you can collect the eggs away from the flock, then put them under her all at once.

    For food, the only "no-no" is letting the chicks eat layer feed. Simply feed everyone whatever you are feeding the chicks, which can be chick starter, chick grower, flock raiser -- anything but layer with its higher calcium content. For the laying hens, put out a separate container of oyster shell so they can get the calcium the need. The chicks won't bother the oyster shell. For the first few days, the chicks can fall in a water dish and fall asleep and drown. Put some small pebbles or marbles in the dish to prevent this.

    Other than that, the mama will take care of everything, including keeping them warm, even if the weather is cold. And they should be healthier and better foragers for having been raised by a hen. Chicks can get very sick from cocci, but this is almost unheard of in broody raised chicks, as the chicks get some immunity from their mama -- from eating a bit of her poop, actually. Cocci is a protozoa in the soil. Chickens normally build an immunity to cocci in this manner, but brooder or indoor raised chicks, or chick moved t a new property, can get overwherlmed and very sick from a new strain of cocci, or a sudden heavy load.

    There are a lot of ways to manage broodies. This is the basics of how I do it. There are lots of threads and some articles here on broodies, and you will find some different information in them. Like so manythings chicken, there isn't a single "right"or "wrong" way.
     
  3. wrestling_mom

    wrestling_mom Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 3, 2011
    Henderson County, NC
    Lots of helpful stuff, thank you!!!! We have incubate before, but never had a mama hen, so I'mhoping all goes well.
     

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