Broody Hen HAtching Eggs-Last Minute Questions!

5chickenluver7

In the Brooder
9 Years
Jan 27, 2010
67
0
39
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!!!!
 

rancher hicks

Crowing
11 Years
Feb 28, 2009
17,685
900
476
Syracuse, NY
1. when a hen goes broody you should move her to a private area as soon as you know she's broody. That said , if she's near her due date leave her and move her "at night" after she's done hatching chicks.
2. If she's got a private place where she can go w/ her babies, say a nest box, I would wait til they are 6 wks, but the books may differ so get one and check. Some broody hens are very protective but she needs a nest area all her own and space.
3. You can let them outside when the weather is warm and I personally wouldn't let out in an unsheltered space.
4. Broody hatching is not the same as incubator hatching. She knows what she's doing. Let her do her job. Not all the eggs will hatch on the same day, or they might. If she's a first timer all may go well and you should just stay out of her way. She may be calm at first and then get very nasty protective and in you face. If she's a standard she could hurt you if she's very protective so be careful. It all depends on how friendly she is but you can never tell. The hormones are raging. I've got one now and don't even think of picking up her babies or you die.
5. No, mom will show them and talk to them about eating and pecking and drinking, just make sure the drinker is at their level but not dangerously so. You don't want them falling in and drowning. Mom have sounds they make for different things. One of which says here come and eat, another The big goon is here get under my wings, hurry up.

Please, please let her take care of things, even if you think she needs your help don't. Give mom some vitamins occasionally in her water and she should be ok. Watch and observe but don't interfere.
I 've had four broody hens. Just like women they were all different. Some lost chicks others didn't. As long as they don't actively kill their chicks they should be fine. All mine were first timers. I would expect them to do better the second time around.

All the best
Rancher
 
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One Acre Wonder Farm

Songster
10 Years
Feb 20, 2009
1,277
4
161
Vermont
The chicks will probably stick to the nest for the first couple of days then they will jump out when mom decides it is time. Since they won't be able to jump back in momma will sleep with them in a new spot. If it were me I would make sure the nest was at ground level so they have a nice cozy spot to return to. I think it is best done before theyhatch so momma is familiar with the new spot before the babies come.

I think the chicks should be at least week old before reintroducing them to the flock. A good broody will let the other chickens know that her chicks are off limits but you'll want to watch carefully at first to make sure momma is doing her job.

You can let them outside whenever momma wants to take them out, she knows best and they'll run to her for warmth and she'll call to them if they wander too far.

You won't have to help any. Have you candled to remove clears? Momma will do all the work and hatch the ones meant to hatch. She'll teach them how to eat and drink. Basically all you'll have to do is fill up the feeder and watered and stay away from her babies!!

Good luck! Having a broody is awesome. They do all the work and you get to sit back and enjoy the cuteness
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5chickenluver7

In the Brooder
9 Years
Jan 27, 2010
67
0
39
Washington State
Thanks so much for answering my questions! I see what you me when you say to be careful around her! Today when I let my chickens roam around the yard for a while, she came out and ran after a squirrel squawking at it and flapping her wings until it ran out of our yard... then she did the same to one of our cats! haha poor cat and squirrel!
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davony's chicks

Songster
10 Years
May 30, 2009
807
19
138
Missouri
I was curious about this too, so I am glad you asked. I have a broody hen that has been setting on eggs for 3 days now. I am so eggcited! She had 2 eggs under her on the 11th and I didn't check today to see how many she had.
I will check again tomorrow.
I don't have a seperate place to keep her so I hope she can protect her babies!
My neighbor gave me this hen and I did see her raise young with all of her chickens last year so I hope she does well for me.
 

suebee

Speaks Silkie Fluently
14 Years
Apr 1, 2007
2,087
128
331
N. Carolina
5chicken,
I'm going through the same thing with the nest box. I tried to move her and eggs down to a place on the floor but she was so stubborn. Would not stay there. I gave up and placed the eggs back in the nest box. On the 21st day I will place a screen over the opening of the nest box so the chicks don't accidentally fall out.

When all are hatched, I will move her and babies to the nest on the floor. She will stay there because of the babies.

I would let mom have a choice of going outside with them after a week. Make sure they are in a secure run or hawks, other preds might get them. Or, let them out late in the evening so they have 1/2 hour outside with YOU there protecting them.

Make sure your waterer has marbles in so the chicks don't drown. I say this from a heartbreaking experience.

If you let them around your other hens please watch them. I've heard stories of hens and roosters trying to kill young babies. I'd wait at least a few weeks.

No helping a chick out of it's shell. Sometimes it takes over 24 hours or longer for just one to hatch. If you think there are problems with a chick stuck in it's shell, post here first before helping.

Make sure you place a paper towel with chick starter close to mom when they hatch. She will teach them to eat. After they all hatch, she'll get up and start scratching the paper towel to shreds...Ha! She's just teaching them. You can replace that with a non slip bowl or I use the plastic containers that frozen entree's come in. Or a proper chick feeder.

I'll be watching this post in case you need more help, AND, March 17th is my birthday so I feel a closeness with your about-to-hatch chicks.

So funny about the cat and squirrel! She means business! Sounds like she's gonna make a great Mommy!

One last thing.....we want pics when they hatch!

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suebee

Speaks Silkie Fluently
14 Years
Apr 1, 2007
2,087
128
331
N. Carolina
davony's chicks :

I was curious about this too, so I am glad you asked. I have a broody hen that has been setting on eggs for 3 days now. I am so eggcited! She had 2 eggs under her on the 11th and I didn't check today to see how many she had.
I will check again tomorrow.
I don't have a seperate place to keep her so I hope she can protect her babies!
My neighbor gave me this hen and I did see her raise young with all of her chickens last year so I hope she does well for me.

I wouldn't let her sit on any new eggs. Staggered hatches don't end up well. The hen hatches the early ones, leaves the unhatched eggs to take care of her babies and....they eggs get cold and die.

I'd let her hatch just the 2. You can let her hatch more later this spring and summer. Also, take a pencil and mark those 2 eggs. I just make a big X on them so I know if there are any new ones under her.

You can easily make a place for her and chicks using cardboard and duck tape. Just use a small corner of the coop.​
 
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Bat Cave Silkies

Songster
9 Years
Feb 11, 2010
1,330
22
151
Bat Cave, NC
Ditto on everything everyone already mentioned. I have one piece of advice to add : after the chicks have hatched, if you choose to move mom and her brood, be careful when you pick her up because there are usually chicks BETWEEN her wing and body and they'll fall out.

I always let my broody hens incubate eggs for me when I can; but I've built what I call a "broody box". Its a cube with a opening, filled with straw (and the eggs and hen), which sits inside a homemade cage that measure 2 ft x 3 ft. I use 1/4 inch wire on it (so no paws/hands can reach in) and theres a solid wood lid over half of it. As soon as the hen goes broody--she goes to the broody box. She has plenty of room to eat, drink, poop and even take a dirt bath without being disturbed by anyone. Plus, when the chicks hatch, they have a safe place to come outside with mom.
 

davony's chicks

Songster
10 Years
May 30, 2009
807
19
138
Missouri
Great help! thanks!
I did mark 3/11 on the eggs so I know which ones they were.
I will cordon off a corner of the hen house for her and her chicks with some chicken wire and leave room for her to get around a bit. Hopefull she will take to her new spot. She loves the top center nest box.

How often will they get out of the nest box to eat?

How will I know she is getting out to eat and drink?
 

suebee

Speaks Silkie Fluently
14 Years
Apr 1, 2007
2,087
128
331
N. Carolina
Put the food and water in with her if you can. She will get off the nest every few days to stretch and poop, take dust baths, etc.
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MANNA-PRO

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