1. If this is your first time on BYC, we suggest you start with one of these three options:
    Raising Chickens Chicken Coops Join BYC
    If you're already a member of our community, click here to login & click here to learn what's new!

Broody hen questions

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by cottonwood23, Mar 13, 2016.

  1. cottonwood23

    cottonwood23 Out Of The Brooder

    72
    0
    39
    Jan 17, 2016
    Appling, Georgia
    So I have a game hen that is broody and has been for weeks. She has been laying on a handful of eggs for about 8-10 days now.. Is there anything I need to do for her or the eggs? Also the boxes are in an elevated room... If she does sit on then long enough to hatch what will I need to do once they hatch and will they fall out of the box or will she keep them close? Any info on this would be helpful. Have never had a broody hen try to hatch eggs so am new to this part
     
  2. Cowgirl71

    Cowgirl71 Chillin' With My Peeps

    3,176
    54
    221
    Feb 5, 2010
    Missouri Ozarks
    Not much to it really, she's doing most of the work! :)

    Keep some free-choice feed and fresh clean water available close by so she can quickly gobble up some food and water when she leaves the nest to eat/drink/poop/exercise. As for the eggs, if any start to smell or ooze gunky stuff then get rid of them before they contaminate other eggs. If you notice her repeatedly leaving a certain egg out in the cold, on the outskirts of the nest, get rid of it; she knows it's infertile and/or going bad. Also, the eggs will be very greasy from her body oils by the time hatch day arrives, this is normal.

    As for the nest, yes, the chicks will likely fall to the ground if you don't modify the nest. I had a hen, unbeknownst to me, go broody on top of a stack of round hay bales. I found out when I happened to go in the barn that day and heard a momma hen clucking. Found her on the hay bales with a single chick under her and several more 10' below her on the ground, all dead, poor things. But what I've done that has worked real well when a hen goes broody in a nest box up off the ground is I just cut a piece of cardboard to line the front of the nest, cut to be about 4" taller than the nesting material, to keep the chicks in. It lets the hen out but keeps the chicks in. I mostly do this because I have opportunistic barn cats who would show up quickly if they heard a lost lone chick peeping loudly for its mother from the floor of the coop. Once the hatch is done, I move the family into a cat-proof brooder area.
     
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2016
  3. varidgerunner

    varidgerunner Chillin' With My Peeps

    584
    233
    123
    Aug 16, 2013
    Anything that wanders out from under her and falls will chill and die, or she might leave to set on a few that fall and leave the ones still trying to hatch to chill in the egg. If you could block it off as mentioned above so that the chicks can't fall out it would work fine, otherwise you are going to have to keep a close eye on her and move her someplace better once a couple hatch. If a couple hatch she will stay with them, put them down on the ground on some bedding and then slip the rest of the eggs under her. If you try to move her before anything hatches she might quit. Once some of those game hens pick a place they can be pretty stubborn about it. I have two sisters setting eggs on top of a chicken wire turkey run right now, don't know exactly what I'm going to do about that, might try to slip something under them at night, might try to move one of them.
     
  4. Cowgirl71

    Cowgirl71 Chillin' With My Peeps

    3,176
    54
    221
    Feb 5, 2010
    Missouri Ozarks

    Very true. Everybody has to stay together on the nest for a day or two, until the hatch is done.
     
  5. cottonwood23

    cottonwood23 Out Of The Brooder

    72
    0
    39
    Jan 17, 2016
    Appling, Georgia
    Thanks for that info. We have about 8 more days or so but hopefully we can get her to hatch them out.. Unfortunately we haven't been around when she gets up so we don't know how many are under her or what type
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by