Broody Hen Problem

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Rafa, May 13, 2010.

  1. Rafa

    Rafa Out Of The Brooder

    Jan 22, 2010
    Nottingham, England
    Hi I think I have a broody hen as she has now been sitting for three days and if I go near her she just pecks me. I have five other ladies and one rooster who has been doing his job quite well, so fingers crossed. Anyway heres my problem, the broody hen is sitting in the nest box that they all lay in, they have four boxes altogether, so as you can imagine the commotion that goes on when another wants to lay is terrible, they go in stand on her, peck her and are darn right mean to her, but she is not giving in (bless her). They are refusing to lay in any of the other boxes. I am still into my first year of keeping chickens so this is all new to me, so I have a few questions.

    Should I move her to another nest box? (if she will let me that is!!!)

    She isnt eating or drinking, should I put food and water into the coop for her?

    Should I try and clean where she is?

    My rooster (Rocky) is doing a grand job of keeping an eye on her and tries to keep the other ladies away as much as he can when they are free ranging from 2pm till bed time. I dont know whats happening while I'm at work though, infact I dread to think. Any advice or tips would be so much appreciated.
  2. PhilErvin

    PhilErvin Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 11, 2009
    Yucaipa, CA
    Put a fake egg, golf ball, rock or anything that may look and feel like an egg into the other boxes and see if the other girls will move.
    When I have a hen go broody and the other girls want to share her nest I simply pick her up and take the eggs out and sit her back down. If she picks at you just put on a pair of gloves. [​IMG]
  3. silkydragon

    silkydragon Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 1, 2009
    ohio valley
    left her up and mark the eggs then take any news 1s or put her in a cage where the others cant get to her becouse if you simply move her to a different nestbox in the coop they will continue laying on top of her
  4. Rafa

    Rafa Out Of The Brooder

    Jan 22, 2010
    Nottingham, England
    Thanks for the advice will def try the golf ball in other nest boxes and see if the ladies will go in them. With regards to the food and water should I put some in the coop for her or is it best to keep it in the run so that she comes out to it once in a while? and do i attempt to lift her up to clean out the nest box? Many Thanks
  5. sourland

    sourland Broody Magician Premium Member

    May 3, 2009
    New Jersey
    If she won't leave the nest by herself, move her out twice daily to eat and drink. If she is defecating in the nest, it may very well spoil the eggs. She must leave the nest. Mark the eggs she is setting on and try to keep the others from bothering her- moving her, wire front on box or whatever. The fussing over the nest box can crack and ruin the eggs. Setting hens need privacy to successfully hatch chicks.
  6. Rafa

    Rafa Out Of The Brooder

    Jan 22, 2010
    Nottingham, England
    Thanks for that sourland, I am going to try and segregate her with a board from the rest of the ladies as they are really bothering her now with trying to lay on top of her and she is getting very stressed. I will put some food and water into her part and hopefully she will then eat and drink, so far I have not seen her leave the nest. I tried to feel underneath her last night to see how many eggs were there and she went beserk even made me bleed!!! Checked on her this morning and think she's a bit stinky so I am going to try and move her later to have a clean and mark the eggs, wish me luck as I dont think its going to go very well.

    By the way is it normal for a broody to be in like a trance? She doesnt seem to blink or anything, I went in with a bit of brocolli for her yesterday she seemed to stare at it for ages then attacked it, it was still there this morning so I dont think shes eating at all.
  7. elmo

    elmo Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 23, 2009
    Yes, they do go into a sort of trance. At least, that's what it looks like, anyway.

    I think you're doing the right thing to move her. When the chicks hatch, you'll probably want them separate from the flock for a while for their own protection, anyway. When my hens were broody, I tried to make sure they came off the nest every day for food, water and pooping. Someone here noticed their hen wouldn't poop unless she lifted her up and brought her away from the nest. I noticed mine didn't want to poop near the nest, either. But do be sure she has food and especially water nearby. For food, I offered regular birdseed (that's what I use for scratch for my bantams) as well as regular feed. My hens gobbled the seed and pretty much ignored the feed.

    My hens were sweet and didn't peck. The worst they did was fluff up and shriek a little bit. It seems as though you'll need to wear gloves with yours. Be careful lifting her because sometimes they hold an egg or two in their "wing pits." When the chicks hatch, they'll snuggle under the wing pits, too, sometimes poking their heads out to peek. The other morning when I checked on one of my hens, it looked like she had five heads growing on her back!
  8. henney penny

    henney penny Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 21, 2009
    Northern Maine
    I just had the same situation with my sexlink broody she wanted to stay in the nesting box that they all lay in,so I took her out gave her two gold balls (cause I didn`t want anymore chicks)to sit on,I had four BO`S ordered and they came in yesterday so last night the chick fairy came and put them under her and took her golf balls,she was very happy thins morning talking to her babies,had to turn on the heat lamp cause it was cold for the babies she wouldn`t let them come out.Hope everything goes well this is the first time I tried this and sexlinks are not suppose to go broody.See the one peeking out[​IMG]
  9. teach1rusl

    teach1rusl Love My Chickens

    Totally agree on the last two posts (elmo/sour). Do physically move her off the nest once or twice a day to "force" her to eat, drink, and poop, because some really don't take care of their health when they're broody. I did with my girl, and brought treats to her daily, and she'd STILL lost a ton of weight by the time the month was up. My girl did fine when I moved her to another nest; I even moved her to just an old tub with bedding in it, and she took to it just fine (don't know if they all handle being moved so well???). Good luck with her hatch!
    Last edited: May 14, 2010
  10. Rafa

    Rafa Out Of The Brooder

    Jan 22, 2010
    Nottingham, England
    Thanks so much for all your replies its reassuring to know your not on your own when your new to this. Anyway a little bit of progression, she has just been out on her own accord for about 10 minutes, had corn and pellets to eat and drank about a gallon of water and a good poop, I am so pleased [​IMG] then straight back in. While she was out someone else took the chance to go in and lay an egg but was out before she went back in, so at least they were keeping the eggs warm while mum was away!!

    I will keep an eye on how it goes and if necessary board her up, but fingers crossed, and in an ideal world, today has been perfect. I have given her food and water nearby.

    Good luck to all your others with your chicks, I will keep and an eye on the forum for your progress and hopefully be posting again soon. No doubt very soon!

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