Broody hens!:)

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by shelbyw, Apr 13, 2017.

  1. shelbyw

    shelbyw Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 1, 2015
    Monroe, Georgia
    I have a question about hens and when they go broody. So for about 4-5 days now I noticed only one of my hens brooding on a nest of eggs. I was gone for a week and my dad did not go and get the eggs so my EE started laying on them! I am kind of excited since this would be the first time I hatch chicks from my hens :) Anyways, I was wondering if it is normal for broody hens to switch places for a little bit. I noticed my BSL hen sitting on them today and it was just odd to me. Is this normal for hens to switch ?
     
  2. chickens really

    chickens really Overrun With Chickens

    What happens is a Broody hen who is left with the flock to set her eggs will get up to eat, drink and relieve herself and another Hen will hop in and lay her egg too....I always remove my Broody Hens to a brooder to set and hatch out her Chicks...That way she has privacy and I know she will not abandon the nest from too much interference ...:)


    Best wishes..:)

    Cheers!
     
  3. Sionnach Dhu

    Sionnach Dhu Out Of The Brooder

    Adding to that:

    First, if you DO leave her where other hens have access to the nest, you need to mark the original eggs, so you can remove newer ones.

    Second, there are risks to the eggs... I've twice let hens keep eggs they decided to sit on when something stopped me from collecting eggs for several days. Two years ago, there were 6 eggs involved, and a second hen went broody and decided she was going to sit on the eggs too. 4 of the eggs got broken; it was fairly early on, so I just found eggshells and some bits of eaten up yolk.

    This year, I let a broody keep some eggs she started sitting on when the chicken house got snowed in. Halfway through, I found a broken egg and dead chick, with a fresh egg on top of it, covered in yolk and blood. Next day, I found the broody sitting in the wrong nest. Consequently, some of the chicks died in-shell from getting cold, and one of the two that managed to hatch (they'd been towards the front of the nest and got some sun) was too weak to survive. The lone survivor had a dark brown eggshell, which I think is what saved it.

    To put that in one-sentence terms of the risks:
    1) Another broody may try to join in, and if the hens squabble about it, eggs can get broken.
    2) If other hens lay eggs on top of hers, the ones you're trying to hatch can get broken.
    3) If another hen is laying an egg in her nest when she comes back from eating, she may decide to sit on fresh eggs in another nest box, leaving the developing eggs to get cold.

    Editing to add: First time around, I waited until the eggs had hatched to move the family into the the small isolation pen I keep inside my larger chicken run.
    This time, after the broken egg and finding her in the wrong nest, I waited until she sat on the eggs again (which she did within a few minutes when I took away the fresh eggs she'd switched to). I then picked nest box, hen, eggs and all, and moved the whole shebang into the safe pen.
    I was running a risk it would upset her & she'd stop sitting, but she's super placid so I knew it wasn't likely.
     
    Last edited: Apr 14, 2017
  4. shelbyw

    shelbyw Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 1, 2015
    Monroe, Georgia
    Thanks for the feedback:) I am currently going to have to leave her up there with the eggs. I do have 6 other nesting boxes and I have actually found 1 new egg in one of the other ones. I have 16 eggs that are being incubated and I have been going up there as much as I can to make sure nothing bad is happening. It seems to be my BSL is the only one on them in the mornings and my EE is mostly in the evening. I haven't noticed any new eggs in the nest, but what do I mark the eggs with just in case? I also wanted to add that when I went up there this morning to go feed, I noticed my BSL got off the nest to get some water. I fed them and went over to the nest to see if we have anything. I candled them all and I didn't move them because I did not want to make her upset. I could really only see inside 4 of them and I noticed that they have a red vein looking area on one side. It is a big circle looking thing, so I am guessing that maybe they only just started to form. They look like a 5 or 6 day old egg. I do not know the exact day my hens started incubating them. When I candled the other eggs, some were really hard to see inside. Some were dark and I think that is because I had a horrible flashlight and I was not moving them. The reason my broody hen is staying with the other hens is because I do not have a separate cage for her at the moment. I will soon, but we are not going to get one until these hatch. I am going to get one when we start to redo the chicken pen in May. [​IMG]
     
  5. shelbyw

    shelbyw Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 1, 2015
    Monroe, Georgia
    Thanks! Unfortunately I cannot move my hen, but I am working on redoing my chicken pen(which is paused at the moment). I am not going to do anything yet until I see if we get any chicks. I have a pen that is connected to my chicken house, but it is not coming off until we actually start the process of building. That will probably start around the first couple of weeks in May just to make sure those eggs and her are good and possibly hatched[​IMG] I want little commotion up at the coop as possible so she can really sit on her eggs. It is pretty peaceful where they are and does not have a lot of noise other than the cardinals. I was wondering what you use to mark the eggs ? I have 6 other boxes and it only seems to be my Partridge Cochin laying the eggs at the moment. I have 16 eggs that my hens are laying on, but I want to make sure that it stays that number. I also have other nesting boxes, but they like to lay eggs in the ones that are higher up and I think that is because of chicken instinct[​IMG] I do have all of the nesting boxes hanging. The box that the incubating eggs are in is one of the taller ones where they have to use the perches to get up to it. I am really excited to see if we get any chicks [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2017
  6. shelbyw

    shelbyw Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 1, 2015
    Monroe, Georgia
    [​IMG]This is my EE a couple of days ago sitting on them

    [​IMG]This is today and I went up there to feed about an hour ago and I just went up there again to see if she went back to sitting on the eggs.

    [​IMG]This is my rooster Charles:)

    [​IMG]I have not noticed any eggs from my EE and I have not really seen her laying on the eggs. I also have noticed that my BSL has taken over the nest. She has gone broody before and she tends to be very aggressive. She hates if the other chickens get within 10 feet of the nesting area even though she is higher up than them when they are on the ground. [​IMG] They have plenty of space other than where her box is, so I am not really concerned about that[​IMG]
     
  7. shelbyw

    shelbyw Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 1, 2015
    Monroe, Georgia
    Update: It seems to only be my BSL hen which is great and also we have 6 fertile, growing chicks :) I cannot really tell what day they are at though. I have been looking at egg cell charts but I don't really know.
     
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2017

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