Broody hen & I'm new to all this!

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by somissemilyy, Jun 4, 2012.

  1. somissemilyy

    somissemilyy Songster

    275
    1
    111
    Jun 5, 2010
    Coldwater, MS
    Okay so I've been keeping chickens for about 2/3 years now, but I've never had a chicken go THIS broody! Buffing at me, making the "dinosaur" noise I call it, sitting at night.. So my mom and I thought we would experience with it. We have her sitting on 5 eggs, & we have them marked. She's been sitting for about 4 days now I guess. I need all you experienced folks to give me some advice on what I should do and what I shouldn't do! Thanks! :) xx
     
  2. WalkingOnSunshine

    WalkingOnSunshine Crowing

    4,210
    497
    328
    Apr 8, 2008
    Ohio
    Make sure that the nest isn't so high off the ground that baby chicks can't get in and out of the nest. Make sure she's somewhere the rest of the flock can't get into the nest. Make sure she has food and water near, but not actually in the nest. On night 7, candle the eggs to make sure they are developing properly. Discard ones that aren't. That's pretty much it. It's a good sign that she's vehement about you leaving her alone--in my experience, the meaner the mama the more likely the chicks are to survive.
     
    Last edited: Jun 4, 2012
  3. somissemilyy

    somissemilyy Songster

    275
    1
    111
    Jun 5, 2010
    Coldwater, MS
    Like where should I put her? Maybe in like a pen? I have this big round thing in the bottom of the coop that she is sitting in..
     
  4. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Free Ranging

    23,249
    9,653
    667
    Feb 2, 2009
    Southeast Louisiana
    You have a lot of options. I've seen hens get chicks out of a ten foot high hay loft after they hatched so height above the floor of the coop does not bother me a lot as long as there is a decent lip on the nest so the chicks, eggs, or bedding don't get accdidently scratched out. It sounds like yours are on the floor anyway, so that is not an issue.

    Hen's have been hatchng eggs with the flock having access for thousands of years. There is nothing wrong with isolating the broody if you wish but many of us don't.

    I never put food and water near the nest for the broody. She gets off the nest, usually about once a day though sometimes more often and gets food and water same as the rest of the flock. There is nothong wrong with putting out something speial for her if you wish, but I don't find it necessary as long as you don't pen her up so she can't go out to get it herself.

    I never candle eggs under a broody, though you can if you want. When I candle eggs in my incubator, I never toss one at day 7. I sometimes have trouble seeing development in the darker eggs that early. Maybe 95% of the time I can get it right, but at day 7 I candle and mark which eggs look good. I wait until day 14 or thereabouts before I actually toss any. I am occasionally wrong at Day 7.

    You can leave her where she is. Check under her once a day and remove any eggs that are not marked. Other hens may lay with her or she may actually steal eggs from other nests. Other than checking under her once a day for new eggs, pretty much just leave her alone.

    If you decide to isolate her from the flock, she needs a nest and room for you to put food and water for her. She also needs enough room to come off the nest and poop without messing up her nest or the food and water. That's all she needs. The broody will do the work of incubating the eggs.

    You are dealing with living animals so I can't give you any guarantees about any of this. Many of us do all these things many different ways. Most of the time, most of us are successful whichever way we go about it. Sometimes we have special situations that makes one way better for us than the other, but there is no one way that is right or best for all of us.

    Good luck however you decide.
     
  5. Mrs. K

    Mrs. K Crowing

    6,804
    5,730
    476
    Nov 12, 2009
    western South Dakota
    I agree with the last poster, leave her alone as much as possible. I have one right now, that is due Saturday! hurray! But in the first three days, I added eggs to her, and she changed the nest. I waited, and added the eggs I wanted to hatch, she changed the nest. She is currently sitting on two eggs, but has stuck to that nest.

    I have new day old chicks coming Friday, I will add them to her, when her eggs hatch, or if they don't hatch.

    Moving a hen, will often cause them to leave "your' nest, and go back to their own. Just leave her be as much as possible, if you think that other hens are laying eggs in her nest, I would still only check it twice a week.

    This will be a long 21 days - but there is nothing more fun to watch than a brood hen with chicks. And if you have enough space she will raise them right up in the flock, no integration issues!

    MrsK
     
  6. somissemilyy

    somissemilyy Songster

    275
    1
    111
    Jun 5, 2010
    Coldwater, MS
    Thanks y'all for posting! I do have a quite a bit more questions since I've been reading y'alls posts! I do have no other place to possibly raise her so my only choice is to let her raise them with the flock, but I do have plenty of room! I have a big area where I let my chickens roam in their pen (wooded area) but since it's summer and I'm home all the time I've been letting the chickens in the yard.. So I think she will be okay with the chicks (if they hatch) in the small pen connected to the coop, while the others are out.. Another question, should I put food/water near my broody, or just let her get up and get it on her own? Cause she was out on her own this morning and before I knew it she was back sitting! Thanks so much! :) xx
     
  7. WalkingOnSunshine

    WalkingOnSunshine Crowing

    4,210
    497
    328
    Apr 8, 2008
    Ohio
    I always candle at 7 days and toss. I once had one go bad under a hen, and it was a terrible awful mess. Never again!

    Also, I think to isolate or not depends on your setup. If I didn't isolate mine, other hens would climb into the nestbox with the hen and lay fresh eggs in there, or put a toenail through a developing embryo. If other hens can't lay eggs in with the broody mama, I think you're good.

    The reason I bring up nestbox height is I was just reading about a woman who lost a whole brood because the chicks couldnt' get back into the nest box and they froze to death.

    But yes, "leave her alone" is, for the most part, sage advice. Only handle eggs at night, if you're going to do it.

    edited to add:
    Let her leave her nest to get food and water. She needs to stretch and to poop away from the nest. Also, Mrs. K is right--a good broody hen will integrate the chicks into the flock perfectly. I would watch her very carefully once they hatch, however. Some hens will sit, but not defend the babies well. I lost half a brood once because the mama didn't bother to keep the rest of the flock from killing them. I'd have a brooder on standby, so to speak, just in case the mama isn't very maternal.
     
    Last edited: Jun 4, 2012
  8. momoftwinsinwi

    momoftwinsinwi Songster

    371
    16
    166
    May 29, 2007
    Rochester, WI
    yayyy.....flock master....same here, I say ....let them do their thing, I have enough work to do with my job and raising chickens, let them do the "mothering" LOL.....
     
  9. jtbrown

    jtbrown Songster

    1,795
    22
    179
    Mar 30, 2011
    Southeastern Ohio
    I have no great experience, but had 4 go broody on me in last few weeks, tried to remove them for a few days and finally caved and got some eggs for them to sit on.

    I had problems when they got up to go relieve themselves and eat and drink, then the other hens jumped on nests, and 2 eggs got broken, and it was a mess. I took a chance Sunday and moved them to my grow out pen (had nesting boxes in it), eggs were warm on move and while the girls all 4 gave me "what-for" they eventually ended up sitting on the nests provided for them. They have had no issues with other hens stealing their nests, no more broken eggs. And my hens seem relieved not to have their larger flock mates messing with their eggs.

    I haven't candled, I tried, couldn't see anything, and decided to wait it out. I have checked eggs gently for cracks, etc. and they are good. My golden sebright (I didn't think they went broody) is brooding with my EE they are sharing the nest constantly. The other two are a d'uccle and old english game. I have 10 eggs left between the four of them, and keeping my fingers crossed. They are in that coop with 15 5 and 6 week olds and 2 Silkies. I am hoping that is sufficient to keep them safe until the 5-6 week olds are big enough to integrate into entire flock. Then I will put everyone back together.

    I feel that managing my birds sometimes feels like a full time job, I have a rather large flock, and can section the runs, and 4 different parts of my main coop off (total 12x24 foot of coop, much larger run). But, I love it. Good luck with your birds.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by: