Broody Hen Not Leaving Nest

CoalLucker

Chirping
Jul 18, 2016
128
9
64
Indiana
I have a broody hen and she's been like this for about 3-4 days now and it seems like she's not leaving her nest. I don't watch her all the time so she could be and I'm just not realizing it. Is there a way to tell if she's leaving the nest to get food and water and if she's no what can i do?
 

PD-Riverman

Crowing
8 Years
Jan 14, 2012
5,007
1,302
406
Conway SC
I have a broody hen and she's been like this for about 3-4 days now and it seems like she's not leaving her nest. I don't watch her all the time so she could be and I'm just not realizing it. Is there a way to tell if she's leaving the nest to get food and water and if she's no what can i do?
If this will help. I set 72 broody hens in 2015, and about 80 more the 2 year before that-----never had one to starve. And No I do not put water or food at their nest-----that's Not good. The hen is just setting---not moving like normal so it will not take as much food or water as usual.
 

Ol Grey Mare

One egg shy of a full carton. .....
7 Years
Mar 9, 2014
20,622
15,045
821
Oregon
My Coop
My Coop
You aren't seeing her leave the nest because you aren't meant to see it -- a broody will carefully move away from/back to her nest so as not to be seen by anyone to avoid potentially leading predators back to her nest. As @PD-Riverman said, you don't find dead hens on nests, because they DO get up and eat/drink/poo. Placing food or water near the nest will is more risk than reward as it brings the potential of a soiled nest from spilled feed/water and lessens the need for the hen to move away from the nest to expel waste.
 

chickengeorgeto

Crowing
7 Years
Dec 25, 2012
8,047
4,200
431
Big Bend of the Tennessee River's Right Bank.
Regardless of the posts of others, a broody hen (at least a good one) will stay on the nest for at least 4 days at a time. She will come off then only to defecate, eat something, have a sip of water and grab a quick dust bath. The smell of the huge chicken poo she leaves when she is off the nest is poof positive that she has left the nest to do necessary things.
 

CoalLucker

Chirping
Jul 18, 2016
128
9
64
Indiana
If this will help. I set 72 broody hens in 2015, and about 80 more the 2 year before that-----never had one to starve. And No I do not put water or food at their nest-----that's Not good. The hen is just setting---not moving like normal so it will not take as much food or water as usual.
One more quick question-- since I can't catch her off the nest could it break her if I remove and replace some of the eggs? Some of the eggs she's sitting on I know aren't fertile and I would like to replace them with fertile eggs do you have any suggestions on how to do so without breaking her brood?
 

PD-Riverman

Crowing
8 Years
Jan 14, 2012
5,007
1,302
406
Conway SC
One more quick question-- since I can't catch her off the nest could it break her if I remove and replace some of the eggs? Some of the eggs she's sitting on I know aren't fertile and I would like to replace them with fertile eggs do you have any suggestions on how to do so without breaking her brood?
No, if she is truly broody messing with her eggs might T her off but will Not break her broodiness. BUT Never add eggs to a broody unless ALL are replaced at one time----If you stick fresh eggs under her and she has been setting for a few days----you will create a staggered hatch---which is a Problem---you will probably have to put the latter eggs in the incubator to save them after she leaves the nest with the first hatch to take care of those chicks. I set All My Hens with the Eggs ""I"" collect---not what they just happen to flock on. If she is going to be with other chickens---I mark ALL the eggs I set her with so every day I can look under her and remove unmarked eggs so No Staggered hatch happens. Then All the fertile eggs will hatch at around the same day---then she comes off the nest not leaving other eggs that might hatch in a few days----makes your and her life easy.

One other thing is get in the habit of ALWAYS collecting every egg from every nest, every day----no matter if a hen is on a nest----get the eggs, then if a hen is going broody---if you want her to set---you can mark and set her with the eggs you choose and there will be no other eggs to deal with----because you collected them every day---LOL. If you do not want her to set----break her early---not weeks later---its easier and better on her health wise than setting for weeks. Search, Broody-breaker-cage or just ask.
 
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CoalLucker

Chirping
Jul 18, 2016
128
9
64
Indiana
No, if she is truly broody messing with her eggs might T her off but will Not break her broodiness. BUT Never add eggs to a broody unless ALL are replaced at one time----If you stick fresh eggs under her and she has been setting for a few days----you will create a staggered hatch---which is a Problem---you will probably have to put the latter eggs in the incubator to save them after she leaves the nest with the first hatch to take care of those chicks. I set All My Hens with the Eggs ""I"" collect---not what they just happen to flock on. If she is going to be with other chickens---I mark ALL the eggs I set her with clearly so every day I can look under her and remove unmarked eggs so No Staggered hatch happens. Then All the fertile eggs will hatch at around the same day---then she comes off the nest not leaving other eggs that might hatch in a few days----makes your and her life easy.

One other thing is get in the habit of ALWAYS collecting every egg from every nest, every day----no matter if a hen is on a nest----get the eggs, then if a hen is going broody you can mark and set her with the eggs you choose and there will be no other eggs to deal with----because you collected them every day---LOL.
So if she's sitting on 4 eggs currently and all 4 aren't gonna hatch can I replace them with eggs that will hatch?
 

PD-Riverman

Crowing
8 Years
Jan 14, 2012
5,007
1,302
406
Conway SC
So if she's sitting on 4 eggs currently and all 4 aren't gonna hatch can I replace them with eggs that will hatch?
Yes---as long as ALL are replaced at one time so one is not left to hatch early. How long has she been setting---if weeks---she might stay 3 more weeks to hatch them----then some hens will give up?? So you do what you feel with this one. In the future you will know what to do!

OK I re-read your first post----Sure put some fertile eggs under her----mark if she is going to be in the same pen with other hens. Remove all un-marked eggs daily from under her. Just be gentle----I do not throw them out the nesting boxes---ever---if you have to wear gloves and long sleeves to do this---be gentle. Good Luck
 

CoalLucker

Chirping
Jul 18, 2016
128
9
64
Indiana
Yes---as long as ALL are replaced at one time so one is not left to hatch early. How long has she been setting---if weeks---she might stay 3 more weeks to hatch them----then some hens will give up?? So you do what you feel with this one. In the future you will know what to do!
It's been a few days almost a week now I think. I'm pretty sure all the eggs she's sitting on aren't gonna hatch so I was planning on just replacing all of them. Also if I replaced more than she started with would that be a problem?
 

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