Broody hen in the coop

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by WilsonFarm, Mar 6, 2016.

  1. WilsonFarm

    WilsonFarm Out Of The Brooder

    Jun 9, 2015
    New Hampshire
    Good morning!

    I have a broody Speckled Sussex - "Chippy." She's opted to set her clutch in the favorite nesting box - inside the coop she shares with 8 other hens and our Roo. I tried to move her nest once - to floor level - but she wasn't having it, and I carefully re-positioned her and she's been happily sitting ever since in that cherished nest. (I marked the eggs and now I just take out the new ones once a day.)

    I know it's not ideal for her to be in the coop with the others. But here's where I'm curious! I know chickens aren't fond of new chicks when they aren't their own... BUT

    Chippy seems to have some co-parents. :) I have a RI Red that hops in the nest every day to sit on the eggs while Chippy has her dust bath and eats. (That's "June".) And ever since this started, she's been taking longer "breaks". And this morning, I noticed "Henny Penny" (our little mixed breed hen) was babysitting too! What are the odds, then, that ...since they're sharing some of the workload, they'll be more accepting of Chippy's little brood?

    My plan right now is to wait out her hatch and then try to move the new family to a more private location where the chicks will be safe and I'll be able to give them chick starter exclusively.

    Thanks for any ideas!
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2016
  2. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    Broody mama(s) should take care of them just fine....and integrate them into the flock for you.
    Most flocks don't see chicks as a threat and mama(s) will protect them from any threat.

    You can set up a creep feeder for the chicks......usually just some fencing with entrances big enough for chicks to enter but too small for adult birds, lot of different ways to do that depending on your coop configuration.

    Or you can feed a starter/grower to all the birds and provide oyster shell for the layers.

    I like to feed a flock raiser/grower/finisher 20% protein crumble to all ages and genders, as non-layers(chicks, males and molting birds) do not need the extra calcium that is in layer feed and chicks and molters can use the extra protein. Makes life much simpler to store and distribute one type of chow that everyone can eat. I do grind up the crumbles (in the blender) for the chicks for the first week or so.

    The higher protein crumble also offsets the 8% protein scratch grains and other kitchen/garden scraps I like to offer. I adjust the amounts of other feeds to get the protein levels desired with varying situations.

    Calcium should be available at all times for the layers, I use oyster shell mixed with rinsed, dried, crushed chicken egg shells in a separate container.

    Animal protein (mealworms, a little cheese - beware the salt content, meat scraps) is provided during molting and if I see any feather eating.
  3. WilsonFarm

    WilsonFarm Out Of The Brooder

    Jun 9, 2015
    New Hampshire
    Thank you! This is all very helpful. My preference is to let her raise them with the rest of the flock - I did keep my last chicks (in a brooder, no hen) in the coop and that was successful. I just thought the feeding was a pain. These ideas are great!

    I appreciate your experience and your time. :D

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