Broody hen questions!


◊The Spontaneous Pullet!◊
14 Years
Aug 19, 2008
Our Buff Orp hen is now sitting in her nest with her new family of 3 chicks. This has been her first experience as a mother.

Like any broody hen would, she had pulled the feathers off her stomach to keep the eggs warmer. Now, her stomach is still bald and her skin looks a little wrinkled from being exposed for so long or maybe from sitting on the eggs. Will they grow back OK on their own?

Also, she hasn't come out of the nest box all by herself yet. When the chicks were dried and able to walk, we let them explore around the nest box. She wouldn't get off the nest to follow, obviously still thinking that she has to keep some eggs warm(even when there weren't any). So we took her out to let her get a drink and eat and relieve herself. Sure enough, she gulped down a lot of water, ate some, left a HUGE dropping, and spent some time with her chicks by showing them how to eat and letting them hide under her wings and stomach. But she won't stand up for very long; instead, she keeps trying to lay down, as if she's still in the nest box. Then, when she sees something that even looks like a nest box, she waddles over to it and lays down. Her chicks explore a little, then they run after her and slip under her stomach and wings.
Why does she still feel the need to sit? Why won't she take her chicks out and to let them explore and learn? Why does she keep wanting to get back into the nest? Is it because it's too early for her to come out yet? Should we wait a little while to let her relax with her chicks? Of course, we let her go back into the nest box when she wanted to, but I was just wondering why she didn't want to bring her chicks out yet, even when there weren't any more eggs left in the nest box.
About how long will she stay in the nest with her chicks before coming out on her own?

Congrats on the chickies

Many hens like to spend a few days in the nestbox to make shore all the eggs have hatched and to make shore the chick are up for exploring. I let my hens stay on the nest for 3 days at the most and keep water and food nearby for the chicks.

Some try to stay even longer that but I put the little family in a different surrounding if she tries.

She may still sit on open ground and watch her chicks explore, this i not a problem (she is just making herself available if the chicks need any warmth while outside) unless she does not stand up when you come closer, then she is still broody!

Try changing pens or nests and remember to keep them inclosed in the new nest for 1 night and let them out, this just lets them to get used to the new nest.

If that does not work than I dont know. As for the feathers they will grow on their own. you can add a little more protein to the diet to help along, but I only do this during molting season.

Good luck!!

your signature says vegetarian, I am too. I jut cant bear the thought of eating animals( especially chickens
Last edited:
i know earlier this spring my broody would just plop down in the yard anywhere and let the chicks crawl up under her - I think she was warming them back up. Then she would get up and explore a little further.

It may just be that they are cold, considering that we would be keeping them in a 85-90 degree brooder.
She may still sit on open ground and watch her chicks explore, this i not a problem (she is just making herself available if the chicks need any warmth while outside) unless she does not stand up when you come closer, then she is still broody!

She usually doesn't stand up when we get closer, but maybe this is because she's used to us? She was raised as a chick and was handled a lot so she's really friendly and hasn't really tried to bite us while she was setting. And when the rooster comes near her and her chicks, she will not stand up but she will lay there and fluff up her feathers and growl.

So does this mean she's still broody? If so, when will she come out of it?
When she's in the nest, even when there aren't any eggs, she won't get up to follow her chicks if they are out of the nest. She will look around, as if trying to decide whether to get up or stay on her "invisible eggs", and she will make little clucking sounds as she's doing this. It's like she wants to get up and follow her chicks, but she has the instinct to stay on the nest and warm the eggs, even when there aren't any!
It's hard to say whether it's too soon, you didn't say how long since they hatched.

Did she set on these eggs the entire 21 days, or were they already started by another hen or incubator before you gave them to her?

In general, hens don't take the chicks out to explore until they're 24-48 hours old.

If she doesn't start taking them out by then, there may be something wrong. If she has a heavy infestation of mites or other parasites, she could be weak from blood loss. I use Ivermectin for both internal and external parasites in chickens. 2cc per gallon of water, as the sole source of drinking water for 2 days. Repeat in 14 days. This is the Ivermectin injectable liquid, 1% solution, that I use. It's works great, it's ok if the chicks have it too. If mom is infested, so are they, and may very well die if not treated.
Putting the Ivermectin in the water, they all get the correct dose, as they will drink the right amount for their size. The dosing doesn't have to be exact, there's a pretty good safety margin.

And yes, feathers will grow back all by themselves. I don't know how to make feathers grow any other way, anyhow. They do take a little while to grow, it won't happen overnight.
The first chick hatched 6/12, the 2nd one hatched 6/13, and the 3rd one hatched 6/14. All that time she stayed in the nest, except for on 6/14 when we took her and her chicks out to explore in the coop.
Yes, I believe she did sit on the eggs the full 21-22 days.

She does not have mites or lice, and I haven't seen any evidence of worms. Before and during her broodiness, I think we spread some DE around in the coop, just in case.
Dont worry too much if its only been 3 days or less. If there is parasites treat immediatly. If there is nothing wrong with her just leave her, but make shore food and water is available. She may snap out of it.

Maybe the chick are just so cuuuute that they hipnotized the hen

Happens to the best of us, guilty
This is completely normal. I have 2 australorps that hatched clutches over the weekend too. They will not get up and walk like a normal chicken for a few days. They will even walk squatted, this is to provide the chicks a place to get warm and feel protected. Often when they walk, they have chicks under their wings, or tucked in thier feathers. The feathers will grow back, just be patient, and let her be a mommy. The reason she doesn't get up when you get near is because she is giving her chicks a place to hide from you.

New posts New threads Active threads

Top Bottom