Broody Hen/need help

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by crazychickens, Sep 8, 2008.

  1. crazychickens

    crazychickens Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jan 19, 2008
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    I have never been around a broody hen, all our baby chicks come from the mailman.
    So when our buff Orpington went "broody" I didnt catch it right a way. See, I'm pregnant and get morning sickness everynight from about 7:00 pm to 11:00 pm so my family has been taking care of the chickens for over a week .

    Two of my kids said Sunny wont let us take her eggs, she's sleeping in the nesting box, she wont eat out of our hand and she looks crazy.

    The next morning I went to check on her because it sounded like she was sick and or dieing.

    When I went and checked on her, every thing my kids and said was right, so I tried to check her for a wound or something, when I put my hand under her, SHE HAD NO FEATHERS ON HER BELLY! We live in Wisconsin it's 55 degrees out!

    We think she started sitting Aug 28 or a couple day's before.

    We dont know what to do, She is in a nesting box with no room around her for a chick, it would fall to the ground if it hatched in the box. We also have other hens in the coop and 7 roosters.

    I dont even know if the eggs have chicks in them, is there any way to tell with a flashlight?

    What should we do?
     
  2. Opa

    Opa Opa-wan Chickenobi

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    You didn't say if you had a rooster with your birds. If so there is a good chance the eggs are fertile and should hatch. Don't worry about the amount of room in the box for the chicks, they will stay under the hen until they are old enough. However, once they hatch you should put the hen and the chicks in a different pen. Better still, if you can move the hen, box and all to a different pen now, I would. I wouldn't bother her to candle the eggs. You only have a little over a week until they should hatch. Similar to having a baby and not knowing the sex. Just wait for the surprise. Good Luck with all of your expected arrivals.
     
    Last edited: Sep 8, 2008
  3. Wildsky

    Wildsky Wild Egg!

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    Quote:I read there are 7 roosters.


    You could candle the eggs to see if there is anything in them - I bet there is.
    I have candled eggs from under a hen before - I've also just let the hen take care of it and wait three weeks to see.

    You will need to move the hen to a lower/floor level box - I'm not sure how well she'd take to that. How high are the nest boxes?
     
  4. Opa

    Opa Opa-wan Chickenobi

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    You're right, I missed the 7 roosters.
     
    Last edited: Sep 8, 2008
  5. crazychickens

    crazychickens Chillin' With My Peeps

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    The nesting boxes are 2 feet off the ground, I cant just move one box because it's all one unit. I have a wire metal dog crate, But I didnt know if I should move her, I read on a different post that someone else moved there hen at night.

    The nesting boxes are very small, both of her wings touch the sides and her butt hangs over the back, about 1 inch of room in front of her chest.

    So chicks hatch under the hen's body?
    That seams difficult.
     
  6. Chirpy

    Chirpy Balderdash

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    Is there any way to move her now to a safe, larger area?

    I was in the same situation with my broody sitting on eggs in a small nest box in with all the other chickens. I was told not to ever move a broody after day 16 and didn't know to move her beforehand. So, I kept a really close eye on her and on day 20 I actually tacked chicken wire over the nest box so that if the chick was born while I was gone it wouldn't fall out of the nest!

    The day after my broody hatched one egg, I moved her and her one chick, and the other eggs to a rabbit hutch which worked perfectly. In my case the other eggs weren't good and I threw them out. My broody raised her chick as a wonderful momma. I kept them in the rabbit hutch for a week and then sectioned off part of the run and let them have that during the day, putting them back into the rabbit hutch at night for safety. Two weeks later I let them back into the main run with the rest of the chickens.

    When I do it again I will move my broody to a separate area after about three days so I don't have to worry about chicks being born in an unsafe area.

    Edited because I'm typing this while watching Monk and I'm making some interesting typos.
     
    Last edited: Sep 8, 2008
  7. MamaDragon

    MamaDragon Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I went thru this in July, and made every newbie mistake there is to make.

    That being said, here's what I learned, and maybe some solutions for you....

    Since she's this far along, I'd let her be. IF it is at all possible, build her an extension to her nesting box, supported from the bottom maybe, but give her enough room that She doesn't fall out trying to move around, and that the babies won't fall out either.

    About two days after the first ones hatch, she will abandon any remaining eggs. THAT's when you can grab her and the babies, and move her to a floor box. She doesn't need to be seperated from the rest of your birds unless one of the roos starts trying to get the chicks. A roo WILL kill the babies, trying to eliminate any more competition.

    A good floor box can be made from a soda case bottom, potato bin, even 5 gallon paint bucket. She's just going to want somewhere to shelter her babies, but where they can get in and out easily. If you have a corner away from where everyone roosts for the night, and "out of the traffic pattern", I'd move her over there. Mine would move "her spot" until she found where SHE wanted to be, and ended up digging a hollow in the dirt floor back in a corner under the nesting boxes.

    My hen is now raising two chicks, and I hatched out three more after she abandoned the remaining eggs. Mama and babies free-range in the daytime, and return to the coop at sundown. I've split off a section of the coop for them, keeping the medicated chick starter over there, as well as waterers at a height that the babies can use easily. I lock them over there at night. I've had no problems with any of the rest of the adult chickens bothering Mama and chicks, and there shouldn't be any difficulty in them joining the flock. The three I've ended up hand-raising are now in a brooder-cage out in the coop, and will be locked away from the crowd, and integrated in after they're bigger.

    There are several threads on the forum regarding brooder boxes for both mama and babies. Most recommend a space of at least 2' x 3' for mama and babies. I'm gonna build a couple this winter, hoping some of them go broody next spring.

    Good Luck!!

    Kathy
     
  8. crazychickens

    crazychickens Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I tried to candle with a piece of card board with a hole in it, and a flashlight. I didnt check all of them (9) the first 2 seam "clear" but not as clear as a 1 day old egg that was in the other nesting box. The next 4, the long way across the egg, has a dark form and the other 1/2 of the egg is lighter.

    She has been sitting for 12/13 days, could I put her in a large wire dog crate? Should I put her in the garage or keep her in the coop?
     
  9. Opa

    Opa Opa-wan Chickenobi

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    Hens will also kill smaller birds. I've seen it happen with a friend's chickens.
     
  10. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude Premium Member

    Best to put her by herself, however, that's been known to break the broody spell for a hen. BTW, I have a Buff Orp named Sunny, too, and she was a spectacular mother. I had 25 three-wk old chicks in the pen next to her and she adopted all of them, along with her two she hatched. It was amazing to see.
     

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