Broody Hen HAtching Eggs-Last Minute Questions!


In the Brooder
9 Years
Jan 27, 2010
Washington State
1. We have been letting her sit on her eggs in her favorite nest box.... one problem, our nest boxes are raised. Once the first chicks hatch, will they jump out before we can move them to their separate pen? Should we move her before hatch day?

2. When should we move them into the pen with the other 3 big girls?

3. When can we let them go outside?

4. Will I need to help the chicks out of the egg?

5. And will I still need to show the chicks how to drink water of will their mom?

The Eggs are hatching on the 17th of march... 6 days!Any kind of response is helpful!!!!


11 Years
Feb 1, 2008
St Louis MO (Jefferson County)
With my first broody, I ended up moving her whole nest box into a cage to keep the other birds away. I ended up taking the chicks away and raising them myself but I felt guilty about it after all her hard work. I took them away because while she was sitting on the other eggs the two hatched had fallen out of the nest box (4 inches) but couldn't get back under her to keep warm.


10 Years
Apr 10, 2009
Here's what I do.

When 20 days have past, I start checking for chicks by peaking under the hen. (Warning, some hens bite - and yes it can hurt!) Once I see chicks, I put a baby chick waterer and food near the momma hen for the babies to reach it.

After a day or two I move the hen and her babies to a large dog crate. I find it works out well to put the babies in a bucket, and hold the momma upside down so that she can see her babies while I carry them to the new pen. I use the dog crate, because some kitty cats don't see cute little fuzzy butts, they see chicken mcnuggets with feet.

You can add extra chicks while she's still broddy on the nest. If she's only hatched out 2 chicks, you can go to the feedstore and give her whatever breed that you want. I also grab any extra eggs on the nest and put them in the incubator. That way if a chick needs and extra day or two, then he/she has the chance. Plus, sometimes another hen will lay in the box after the hen has started to brood. (Sometimes the mother hen will try to stay on the nest to hatch out all the eggs, so the earlier ones can actually starve to death.)

Once the chickens are in the dog crate, I provide them with the baby chick food and waterers in the baby chick feeders and waterers. ) Baby chicks will drown if you leave them anywhere near a bucket of water!!! Use the baby chick ones, or a few empty cat food cans - with a few rocks)

Once the chicks are a week old, then I move the momma and babies to a larger pen. One of the pens that I'm using now is an old camper for a truck that I no-longer have. It has windows for lights, screens for air, a door to open and close, and an open bottom for grass. That way I can move it every few days for the chickens, chicks to get new grass. It's unconventional, but it works. The chickens and their chicks are all happy and safe from 4 legged evil ones.

There is no perfect approach, just find one that works for you and keeps your babies safe. Remember, some cats are evil, ( other's are okay, I have a few that like to sleep near the day old chicks with no problems, other's that love the fresh mcnuggets), chicks need chick food, momma hens are very protective and will bite, chicks need chick waterers, and baby chicks are adorable. Hope this helps.

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