Broody Hen Journey

SierraChickens

Chirping
Nov 17, 2017
63
55
91
My first question is... ok, she is laying on her unfertile eggs in a random place in my yard :/ . But, I have fertile bantam eggs to give to her to sit on, how do I go about this? Also, do I just leave her in the yard? Thanks!
 

SierraChickens

Chirping
Nov 17, 2017
63
55
91
1542026727120437580138.jpg
 

SierraChickens

Chirping
Nov 17, 2017
63
55
91
Sorry, I have another question... how many eggs can I give her, and can i give her, duck and bantam eggs, or does that seam like a lot? I probably will just bo bantams, but just curious.
 

rebrascora

Free Ranging
5 Years
Feb 14, 2014
7,127
8,756
556
Consett Co.Durham. UK
She will not be happy about being moved, so you will need to lock her in the nest place of your choice and keep it dark and secluded with access to food and water. Broody hens are programmed to their nest site rather than the eggs in it. She has selected that site herself and been visiting it for possibly a couple of weeks on a daily basis to lay eggs so she will have a strong urge to return to it. If you do not fasten her in at her new "safe" nest site she will just keep returning to that nest even if there are no eggs there, or she may break of her broodiness. Making her new nest site dark will help her to settle. Moving her after dark will also help. I use an old cupboard and drill a few inch diameter holes in the door for ventilation. I put food and water in there for her and let her out once a day whilst I am doing chores to have a poop and dust bath. The act of opening the door and light coming in often breaks her out off her broody trance and encourages her to get up and have a leg stretch. If she goes back to the wrong nest you need to picker up and put her in the cupboard and close the door. After a few days she will get the hang of the cupboard being her nest site. Once she is locked back in, you know she is safe for the rest of the day.
As regards eggs, give her just bantam eggs. Duck eggs have a different incubation period, so mixing them would cause problems with a staggered hatch and with this being hers and your first time you want to keep it simple. I would give her anywhere from half a dozen to a dozen depending on her breed and your climate. If she is a large fowl then you can giver her a few more, if you have very cold climate then less.
Good luck with this first hurdle of moving her...... Of course if you have no predators and feel it is safe for her to remain there then leave her in her chosen site..... but most places have predators of some sort even if you have never seen any, so it is a risk.
 

Shadrach

Roosterist
Jul 31, 2018
17,677
138,437
1,582
Catalonia, Spain
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My Coop
Ive been wanting a broody hen, and now I think one of my oldest hens are broody (2 1/2 years old)! I hope you can help me out and follow along my first hatching eggs from a broody chicken journey!
I agree that you will have to move her if there is any chance of a predator finding her.
There is this idea that broody hens need to be kept in the dark and closed in. I don’t agree with this.
Firstly a broody hen needs to be able to leave her nest to eat, drink, defecate but also very important, bath. You can, and I have, lifted hens off their clutches and carried them to a place where I’ve fed them and encouraged them to bath. It’s all so much easier if they do this themselves. They pick the right time and seem to know at what temperatures they can leave the eggs and for how long. In order to do this they need an unrestricted route to the outside.

There is mounting evidence that eggs that receive some daylight during the incubation period produce chicks with fewer physical and social ‘health problems. (Dr Mark Hauber, Dr Catrin Rutland. there are other scientists who have produced studies on the subject)
Of course this seems to make sense given their ancestors hatched on the ground and in the open albeit in a secluded and hidden location.

As @rebrascora points out, the hens lock to the nest site rather than the eggs and may and in my experience do return to the original site where they laid the eggs. I let the hen return to the site and then pick them up and take them to the new site. You might have to do this a few times before the hen locks to the new site. There is a chance that the hen goes off broody, but I’ve only had this happen twice in maybe 30 trials.

For a first time broody I would limit her to six eggs. In the event that half that hatch are males, this could give you three more hens which will bond and should give fewer integration problems should you wish them to join another flock. It will also give less males to deal with.

Looking at the picture it seems you free range to some extent. The quicker the chicks and mum have access to the environment they will have to survive in the faster they will learn. Those first few days with mum are really important for a chick. Having mum hatch in a place where she has free access to the outside can save many problems in this respect.
 

Shadrach

Roosterist
Jul 31, 2018
17,677
138,437
1,582
Catalonia, Spain
My Coop
My Coop
As an example, this is currently the favorite nest site out of a 4 acre free range choice and as you can see, there is nothing dark or secluded about it. What it has is top security and that's me.:)
PB131200.JPG
 

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