Broody hen in a bad spot, move her?

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by Tiegrsi, Mar 29, 2017.

  1. Tiegrsi

    Tiegrsi Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 19, 2016
    Burgaw, NC
    Not sure if this is the right forum...I tried looking for posts about broodies and they seemed kind of randomly placed.

    I have a hen that went broody, and for a couple of days I was collecting the eggs anyway because she was sitting in the "preferred" box and the others would sit on top of her and lay. Also, I was getting ready to put eggs in the incubator so I figured I didn't need a broody, but she continued to set.

    When I put eggs in the bator, I had too many, so I figured since she was still sitting, I'd give her the extras. She switched boxes, though, and since I'm a newbie with brooding, I just stuck the eggs under her in the new location.

    Problem is, she's in a box that's above another. When the chicks hatch, I'm afraid they might fall out! She's also in a coop with several other birds and 2 cockerels, and I'm worried about the babies' safety there, too. I have an emergency coop I built last year in my barn to keep the birds in during a hurricane, which is big enough for her and the chicks to stay in for quite some time after hatch. It would also be easier to keep feed and water close to her while she is sitting in that coop, and I can put a heat lamp on it for the chicks if need be. Should I move her and the eggs there? Or should I wait until they've hatched and hope I'm home so I can move the chicks quickly?

  2. What I do is set up a brooder in my Garage with a top on it large enough for the hen to have access to food, water and so she can poop..;)
    I build a nest and then collect the eggs...I place the eggs in the nest and then get the Hen..I do it during the day so the Hen is alert....She will eat, drink and poop, then she will get in the nest and continue to set..:)....I leave her alone for the first half hour so she settles...Sometimes they really get clucking but just ignore her..;)

    I have had 100% success doing it this way.....I then introduce the Hen and Chicks back to the flock at 3 weeks old....My other Hens are great with the chicks and my Rooster tidbits for them and protects them also...:)

    Best of luck...
  3. PD-Riverman

    PD-Riverman Overrun With Chickens

    Jan 14, 2012
    Conway SC
    I always Move EVERY broody hen to a private hatching pen and in over 150 broody hens moved in 3 years I have never had one to not accept the move. BUT with some hens---they accept the move, others not unless its done Proper. One nest in the private hatching pen means she does not get back in the wrong nest and you do not have to mark and check under her every day for fresh layed eggs. I prep her if possible by getting her into a movable nesting container with fake eggs(or eggs that you can completely change out daily)----then the next day I prep the Hatching/private pen---getting food and water set-up away from her nest, then that Night under the cover of darkness---no lights---I move her in the nest---not picking her up out of it----I place her in the hatching pen and back away. (If a light is needed I only Flash it on for a second and right back off to get my bearings-----to much light will possibly cause problems). If she accept the move then the next night I will remove the eggs/fake from under her and put the ones I want her to hatch. Never add more eggs after this---that will cause a staggered hatch and that's not good. Good Luck
  4. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    Broody hens have been hatching chicks with the flock as long as there have been chickens. Those flock’s consisted of hens and roosters. Mature roosters often help a broody hen with her chicks, but as a minimum they practically never harm them. Why would they harm what they perceive as their babies? Any threat would almost certainly come from other hens, not the rooster.

    I let my broody hens hatch with the flock and raise chicks with the flock all the time. If a chick leaves its mother’s protection it’s certainly possible another hen could peck it. Usually that sends the chick back to Mama as fast as its little legs can carry it. Usually my broody hens ignore this behavior as long as it is just one peck, but if the hen chases the chick, my broody promptly whips butt. Nobody messes with her chicks. Some broody hens attack any other chicken that gets close to her babies, some let her chicks intermingle with the other flock members quite a bit. You are dealing with living animals and you can always find an exception to any normal behavior, but I have never lost a chick to another adult flock member when a broody hen raises her chicks with the flock.

    I’ve seen a broody hen get her chicks out of a 10’ high hay loft. Mama says jump and they do, then bounce up and run to her. The nest being up off the ground a bit doesn’t bother me from an aspect of a chick hurting itself getting down or falling down.

    I once let a broody hen hatch in a cat litter bucket that had a top that measured 7-1/2” x 11-1/2”. When the first chicks hatch they sometimes like to climb on Mama’s back while she is hatching the later chicks. With the nest that small, when the chicks fell off her back some would miss the nest on the way down. I picked chicks up four times and tossed the back into the nest with Mama. If your nest is big enough so Mama is not sitting in the edge they won’t miss the nest when they fall. I retired that nest as soon as the hatch was over. By the way, those chicks fell about 2-1/2’ and there were other hens going in and out of the coop to lay eggs when chicks were on the floor. Those chicks were not harmed.

    I’ve never had this problem, I have decent lips on my nests, but it is certainly possible a chick could accidentally fall out of the nest. When you deal with living animals practically anything can possibly happen, but with my larger nests and decent lips on them this just hasn’t been anything I’ve experienced. Again, some people have.

    One risk of letting a broody hen hatch eggs with the flock is that some broody hens can be easily confused. If another hen is on her nest laying an egg when he comes back from her daily constitutional, she may go to another nest and stay there. I’ve seen this a few times. Most of the time the broody knows exactly which nest is hers and either joins the other hen on her correct nest or paces and complains while waiting for the other hen to finish. I suspect that is what happened to yours, she got confused by another hen being on her nest. When this happens I just put the hen back on her correct nest. One time I found that had happened and the eggs were ice cold to the touch she had been off them that long. I put her back on her nest and a week later she hatched 11 out of 11 eggs. It’s not always a disaster.

    The big risk in trying to move her is that she will break from being broody, however people move broody hens all the time. No matter how you go about it there are always some risks with a broody hen. If you decide to try moving her, build a predator proof enclosure with a nest and enough room for food and water. Extra room so she can go poo would help. Broody hens know to not poop in their nest and mess up the eggs, but they don’t know to not poop in their food and water. Give yourself access because you might be cleaning up in there. Make that enclosure totally enclosed so she cannot go back to her old nest and so that no other hen can get in to lay an egg with her. It helps if that nest is pretty much enclosed so it is fairly dark, dark seems to calm them. Move her at night and maybe even lock her in that dark nest until late the next day. Most people are successful when they do something like this, but with living animals you never know what will happen.

    With that nest being elevated this may be harder to do, but can you build an enclosure around her current nest? Don’t move her but fix it so no other hen can get to her and she can’t leave and go back to the wrong nest? Give her room for food and water and a bit to go poop.

    We do this all sort of ways, all carry some risks and inconvenience for you. In my opinion there is no right way or wrong way to do this. We all have different experiences, different flocks with their own dynamics, and different set-ups. I find the more room I have the easier it is to let a hen hatch and raise them with the flock. You have a lot of options, you just have to choose one and go with it.

    Good luck however you decide.

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