broody hen in wild


In the Brooder
Nov 22, 2020
We have a hen, Zinnia, who is 6 months old (her birthday is May 21, 2020). She started laying eggs when she was 5 months old. We gave away our Rooster on November 5, because he was too aggressive with people.
Zinnia was his favorite hen and when he left she went missing a couple week's later we found her sitting on her nest in a field nearby with a nest of 16 eggs. She is sheltered by a light canopy of dried branches and her spot has full sunlight. The weather is getting colder and we don't want to move the nest because we don't want to disorient her but we also don't want her and her eggs to freeze. What are the chances of her eggs hatching in these conditions? We are pretty certain the eggs were fertilized by the rooster. She was his favorite hen.
Do we make a shelter for her in this spot or do we try and move her? when do you think the chick's will hatch (if they are successful)

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Ok. Here's my input. It may be controversial, but I've had experience with this exact issue. I could never find my broody hen, so I obviously didn't move her. But once I did try to move her and she was eaten the next night 😢
So in my opinion
1) DON'T move your hen. Let her do her own thing. Don't keep checking on her either, she's well hidden but lots of activity will tramp down the grass hiding her.
2) My hen hatched 2 successful batches, both in early spring when there were cold temps and snow storms.
Good luck and happy hatching!
Oh and chicks hatch in about 21 days, give or take a few when a broody is hatching. She'll come back once they are hatched. And don't try to cover her, I tried sheltering one of my hens and that's the one who was eaten the very next night.
Another question that is unrelated but we recently built a new chicken pen for our hens and we want to put a top on it so we can keep out predators. We bought one but it didn't work out any advise for tops/roofs for a chicken pen?
I also had an experience with a young broody in the woods. I finally found the nest after about a week and candled eggs when she was off for a few minutes, swapped out a couple of eggs with some I knew were fertile. That night, something came & ate the eggs. The hen escaped, but nest was ruined. I'm pretty sure my disturbing the grass & branches around must have tipped off the predator.
Yes we have stopped checking in on her she comes to the house for food and water but other than that we barley see her we are not sure if the nest was made by all the hen's or just her.
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