Broody hen hatching eggs, now what?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by wanda047, Oct 10, 2009.

  1. wanda047

    wanda047 Songster

    Mar 26, 2009
    Hardy, Arkansas
    This is my first experience with a broody hen and I know very little about what to do with hen and chicks except for what I've read here on BYC.

    Miss Muffin, my silkie hen sat on an empty nest for two days. I had an order for some of her eggs, and had already shipped the first half of the order, and had begun working on the second shipment. I had only ONE of her own eggs at hand to give her, so gave in and slipped it back under her. Not wanting just one chick though, I opted to give her two BO eggs as well. It wasn't but a couple days that I noticed my BO egg production was down. After several days of fewer eggs... I looked under Miss Muffin and found a total of 5 brown eggs!! A couple days later, I checked again to find 8 eggs!

    At this point, I was a bit upset with my little hen and opted to move her and nest inside the house to prevent any more theft. She pushed one egg out of her nest, but continued sitting on the other 7. This morning, we woke to peeps coming from her doggy crate and discovered two beautiful little BO chicks.

    Now I have two concerns. First, she is still sitting on her nest, but I'm wondering if she will tire of sitting on the remaining 5 eggs to tend to her new babies? This will be a staggered hatch. I'm wondering if I should take the chicks from her or leave them? Should I prepare the incubator in case she abandons her nest?

    Also, the temps have dropped drastically here, and I'm concerned about moving the babies and Mom back outside to the coop. I never considered the fact that I might get stuck with babies in the house all winter!

    I absolutely love hatching eggs under a broody and may toss the incubators! This has been way too easy! Any advice for a newbie broody owner would be much appreciated.
  2. wanda047

    wanda047 Songster

    Mar 26, 2009
    Hardy, Arkansas
    Just had to share a photo!

  3. Get your bator going. You dont want a staggered hatch. The 2 chicks with your hen will be fine if you gat a dry place to keep their nest. She will keep them warm. If you hatch the remaining eggs you will need a brooder and light. If the hatch withina couple of days of the 2 BOs you might see if the hen will take them but you dont want a big age differance in the chicks. a week is a big differance.
  4. Also it wont be long the chicks will be as big as mother hen. this is so fun to watch! Whats really funny is to let a hen hatch some ducks and see what happens the first time they get close to a pond or a big water puddle.
  5. fshinggrl

    fshinggrl Songster

    May 1, 2009
    the edge of insanity
    Adorable picture!
  6. Sunny Side Up

    Sunny Side Up Count your many blessings...

    Mar 12, 2008
    Loxahatchee, Florida
    It's not a matter of the broody hen stealing eggs but instead it's the other hens leaving their eggs in her nest. Chickens are slaves to fashion, and don't like to think for themselves if someone else has already made a decision. That's why they're attracted to nests with eggs already in them. "Gee, other hens think this is a good place to lay, I'll lay my egg here too!" They go nuts about a nest with a brooding hen. "Wow, she thinks that's a good place to raise a family, so it must be a good place to lay!"

    That's why it's good to separate broody hens, in their own little place or just barricade their nest site from the coop. Otherwise other hens will continue to interrupt her, and also she might get misdirected coming back from her daily coffee break & leave her clutch to cool.

    It's up to you what you want to do with the chicks & unhatched eggs. You can take the chicks & see if she'll stay on the nest to incubate the rest, then re-introduce the older chicks afterwards. Or take the eggs & try to hatch them in an incubator, and try to get the hen to take them later. Or just let her keep her first chicks & bury the rest of the eggs.

    She should do a good job of tending them & keeping them warm enough. But she'll be done with them before they're grown, anywhere from 4-8 weeks or so, it varies depending on the hen. And the voices only she hears in her head. So plan ahead for what you'll do for them after she leaves them.

    I think it's one of the best aspects of chicken keeping, getting to watch a Mama hen tending her family of chicks...or ducks or whatever you put under her.
  7. Penske

    Penske Songster

    Dec 28, 2007
    Hi all!

    It's been along time since I've posted! Life is busy!

    My Buff Brahma Bantum, Button, is broody again. This time, we are going to let her sit on eggs. I am confused about a broody box. I've read to put it in the coop with the flock and allow her to dash off for dust baths, but how do I keep the others out??

    And...then what? Where do I put her to raise her chicks? In another coop inside the run?

    Thanks for your help!


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