Broody hen

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by cdb1949, Dec 18, 2012.

  1. cdb1949

    cdb1949 Chirping

    Sep 22, 2012
    We have a hen that has only been laying a few weeks and has been on her nest for 3 days. Nights are in the 20's. do we need to get her off the nest or let her sit?

  2. willowbranchfarm

    willowbranchfarm Chicken Boots

    Oct 3, 2011
    My Coop
    Just make sure she is eating and drinking. Its your choice if you want her to keep sitting or not.
  3. farmtotable

    farmtotable Chirping

    Oct 7, 2011
    Pacific Northwest
    My Coop
    I have two broodies currently sitting on clutches, and one broody mama that hatched her chicks last week! After a lot of trial and error, I've developed a system that works well for me - when a hen has proven to be a "determined" broody (sits on her nest no matter how many times I move her or take the eggs away), I'll move her to a broody box in a separate shed from the big coop. (It's a big partitioned shed, half of which our goats sleep in, the other half is feed and hay storage). The broody box consists of a tub filled with hay, and a feeder and waterer placed nearby. I can lock her in at night, and she does fine. If you let her sit on a nest near the rest of the chickens, you run the risk of having one of them break open the eggs, plus it's stressful for the broody to have to constantly defend her nest. I note the day that I gave her all the eggs in her clutch, then about 19 days later I move her into the brooding box we built in our garage, tub and all. (Mama hops out of her tub when she wants to eat or drink). Once her eggs hatch, I take her and the chicks out of the tub and allow them to roam around the brooding box, which has clean shavings, food, water, and a heat lamp. The broody mamas seem to love that setup, because it's totally safe for the chicks. I instituted this system after a broody hatched out three chicks, and on the same day they hatched, one of them was horrifically injured by another hen. (She made it though, with lots of Neosporin and TLC). Once the chicks are big enough, I reintroduce them all to the main coop at night, then for the next few days make sure mama remembers where to go once it gets dark.

    If you don't want her to hatch chicks for whatever reason, there's lots of articles on this website on how to "break" them of their broodiness, but personally I'm not a big fan of that. If a hen wants to be broody, I let her do it. Who am I to go against their instincts? :) You can also just take away her eggs everyday, and eventually the broodiness wears off.

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