broody hen picked a bad, but good spot. accommodate or move?

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by thebulg, May 26, 2016.

  1. thebulg

    thebulg Chillin' With My Peeps

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    our hen, unknown to us, found a very safe corner of our garage to brood in! i'm actually really proud of her. the garage is insulated, and she picked a spot near the door to the outside (the door is blocked though, it can't be opened). but she gets to see daylight through the crack at the bottom, but enjoy the cooler garage, safety from intruders and the elements, total silence and removal from the flock, and it's frankly a GREAT hiding spot. and she laid on my husband's old army uniforms which are well worn, so it's a great big soft nest!

    the problem is that the garage is large, and getting out of the garage to their normal food/water/dirt bath spot is a trek. the closest grass is 20+ feet away and she can't see her nest at all. i brought a small DIY waterer to her, and a small container of chick starter for her to eat and she has been eating and drinking. today she finally got up (day 4) and i found out that she had pooped on the nest twice-- not on the eggs, thank goodness, just around the perimeter of the nest-- and she ate an egg. so i had to clean the eggs off. i am certain she doesn't want to stray as far from the eggs as she has to in order to poop and bathe, which is part of the issue.

    i'm torn. the spot she is in is EXCELLENT. we will definitely move her around day 18 into the refinished coop that we are currently working on, which will be shaded and safe. and we will put her in a dog crate at that point because she shouldnt really be getting up much anyway. i would rather give her the accommodations she needs and let her be than to lift her every day and meddle with her. i want to clear some room near her, put in a straw bed and a small dust bath bin. is that a good idea? do you think it will work?
     
  2. PD-Riverman

    PD-Riverman Overrun With Chickens

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    The spot sounds great---20, 50 even 100ft is not a problem. She is not a chick so she should be eating layer feed----chick feed when the chicks get here. If you have her feed next to her nest where she can eat and drink while on the nest-----it can and will cause her to poop in her nest-----make sure it is away from her nest a few feet at least so she has to get off the nest to get to it, then she will poop while she is off----make no change in the feed location even after the first chicks hatch----they are fine without feed for at least 3 full days. Just for info----I set 72 broody hens last year not a one pooped in the nest. Did I miss any questions?

    Set her up, where Hands Off will work---for a better hatch. Good Luck
     
    Last edited: May 26, 2016
  3. thebulg

    thebulg Chillin' With My Peeps

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    you answered it all!! thank you!!! i had read somewhere to switch to the chick feed for the protein content, but i will gladly switch her back and move the food and water out to the grass! thank you!!

    and now i will add another question ha! would there be any wisdom in putting a dust bathing bin over by the food/water/grass? like a one stop shop?
     
  4. PD-Riverman

    PD-Riverman Overrun With Chickens

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    Yes that's a great Idea---or just out the door I she can get out there---do it to where it works best. With feed it will be OK to mix in some chick feed with her normal feed---if you take her off her normal feed and give her a new higher protein feed all of a sudden---it can upset stomach---poop in the nest---a gradual change is the way to go.
     
  5. thebulg

    thebulg Chillin' With My Peeps

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    thank you so much! off we go to prepare a rest stop!
     
  6. rebrascora

    rebrascora Overrun With Chickens

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    The only other thing I would add to the above, is to think twice about moving her, particularly towards the end of her brood, as she may not take kindly to it and could abandon the eggs, which would be a desperate shame at that late stage. Better to let her hatch them all in the garage and then move her and the chicks to a new location if you feel you need to after a few days. How many eggs is she on?

    It may well be that the egg accidentally broke and she ate it to clean it up, rather than that she actually broke it to eat it, so I wouldn't hold that against her.

    Broody fever is taking over my hen house at the moment and I have 5 setting and 1 who had a head start on them and has chicks that are just over 3 weeks old. Watching them is great entertainment but I don't get my chores done!
     
    Last edited: May 26, 2016
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  7. Blooie

    Blooie Team Spina Bifida Premium Member

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    Just to add to the good council you have already received......I feed everybody starter/grower or All Flock. Higher in protein (helpful for energy so mom to keep up with chicks and help those plucked feathers grow back a little faster) and yet safe for the chicks. Roosters, chicks, layers - all on the same food. Certainly simplifies things for me, and all of the flock can eat whatever the feeders contain. A separate container of oyster shell ensures that the layers get the extra calcium they need when they think they need it, but aside from a nibble out of curiosity, the chicks and roosters leave it alone.

    You are so lucky she found such a safe place to raise her babies! She will, I'm sure, appreciate the dust bath on occasion! Good luck!!
     
  8. thebulg

    thebulg Chillin' With My Peeps

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    will the chicks stay near her once they hatch? this will be our first full broody cycle, assuming she makes it through. my worry was that they would hatch and start wandering and we would lose one. but if the chicks will stay close to her, i would absolutely love to let her just stay in the garage and move everyone later. heck, to be honest, i wouldn't mind putting the dog crate in the garage for a week or so while she recovers a bit and they get their wits about them. they will move into the coop in the dog crate with hardware cloth around it so the big chickens are very used to seeing them, but nobody can get to anyone. so really, if chicks stay by mama at first, i agree with you that it would be better in so many ways to be able to let them stay in the garage for a bit.

    she's sitting on 16 eggs now!!! they're all hers though. we had no idea she was laying them. i thought this whole time she was eating her eggs because she DID eat a few after her first attempt at going broody (she turned out to be sitting on all infertile eggs. this clutch is fertile- we checked and i replaced the ones i smuggled with fertile ones too). but that means she laid these out over a 3 week period, so i dont really know what to expect. but you are so right, 17 eggs is a lot for a chicken, and she very well may have broken one. really, everything was wet and sticky, so she may not have eaten it at all now that i think about it. i may have judged too soon!

    how many babies will you expect to get from all these hens!?
     
  9. thebulg

    thebulg Chillin' With My Peeps

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    i VERY VERY recently found out about all flock feed!!!! we just got turkeys and i saw it on a forum here and we are going to get a bag next week. i will mix it in like PD suggested and work out way over to that with the flock. so much simpler!!! and everyone free ranges around here over our half acre, so i do think the extra protein will be great for even my older girls. i'll be sure to put out more oyster shell too, but mostly our girls eat through the shells in the compost bin. they sort of scoff at oyster shell ha! i can't believe i have had chickens for over a year and only recently heard of all flock feed. so much easier!!!!!
     
  10. PD-Riverman

    PD-Riverman Overrun With Chickens

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    Listen, I just do not want my chickens to get a upset stomach from a feed change so even if I change brands "I" mix the last bag with the new bag----so they can move to the new one gently!! If feed change caused a little stomach problem---it could be worse for some of us that have 1000+ chickens compared to some with only a few so I take precautions with a change. Good Luck
     

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