Broody nesting box crisis

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Petra Pancake, May 7, 2017.

  1. Petra Pancake

    Petra Pancake Chillin' With My Peeps

    I've got s broody hen on fertilized eggs since last Tuesday.She's in the communal nesting box. Put up a second box next to it for the other hens but they refuse to use it and squeeze in with the broody and damage and kick out her eggs. I would like to keep the broody with the flock and not to separate her. Is there any way I can get the others to use the new nesting box next to the old one? The broody hen is highest ranking in the pecking order but she seems unable to keep the others off her box.
     
  2. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    A couple approaches I suggest. First is to remove subordinate hens from the nest box then move remaining broody with nest a few feet away. Then place a very similar nest in the same location as the one just moved. I am making the assumption then embryos are not already cheeping to hens through eggs. In that case, all the hens near end of incubation cycle according to internal clocks will go to cheeping chick sounds even if you can not here them. If my assumption wrong the will follow those eggs if they are close enough to where they are looking.

    Second is to make so other hens not able to get to nest which goes against you intent. Situation as you describe has the makings of bad outcome for chicks unless you simplify the parental relationship for the chicks.
     
  3. Petra Pancake

    Petra Pancake Chillin' With My Peeps

    Thanks. I think I'll try to swap the place of the two nesting boxes, move the old one with the broody to the left and the new one to the right into the "old" place. What's better? Moving the broody box with the broody inside (she might panic) or moving it while she's out to eat (will she "find" it in the new place half a meter to the left?) There can't be any cheeping yet, they have been under her for 5 days only so far.
     
    Last edited: May 7, 2017
  4. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    Move her slowly while she is in it.
     
  5. azygous

    azygous Chicken Obsessed

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    Yes, you need to move the broody to a nest, even a temporary set-up, asap, or her eggs will be damaged. This has happened to me in the past.

    Now what I do is fix up a nest on the floor in the corner of a coop that can be barricaded to keep the other hens from bothering the nest. When I see that the broody is ready to begin incubating eggs, I move the eggs first, then I move the broody. She's happy to go wherever she sees a promising pile of eggs. If not, you may try moving her at night. If she wakes up on the eggs, even in another nest, she's likely to remain.

    My broody still can see and be seen through the mesh barrier, but she has the peace to incubate her eggs without interference. The area is large enough the hatched chicks have room and safety to develop without the broody going nuts trying to defend them.

    By age two weeks, the broody and her chicks are mingling with the flock without incident.
     
  6. Petra Pancake

    Petra Pancake Chillin' With My Peeps

    So I tried to move her in the box together with her eggs - didn't work. As soon as I laid my hand on the box, she darted out of it and ran away. Then I tried to move the box without her: it was glued to the ground. I had forgotten that entirely. Wouldn't come off. So I moved her eggs to the new box half a meter down the road. She came back after a few minutes, fussed about a bit an then sat down in the new place. Hope this fixes the problem. My coop design is rather awkward and makes it difficult to fence off a corner. If this doesn't work I might have to take her out entirely and put her in a dog crate or something.
     
  7. Petra Pancake

    Petra Pancake Chillin' With My Peeps

    [sorry, editing problem, I'll repeat this post further down]
     
    Last edited: May 8, 2017
  8. redranger

    redranger New Egg

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    Hi everyone! There is currently heavy rain in my town.so i was shifting the nest boxes and found out one of them got a bit wet! Will the eggs get spoilt? The eggs are 1 week old. Please Help!!
     
    Last edited: May 8, 2017
  9. Petra Pancake

    Petra Pancake Chillin' With My Peeps

    Hi @redranger . Welcome to BYC. Eggs are naturally coated with a waxy film. It protects the interior to a certain degree from dirt and moisture. It can however be washed off (as in commercial eggs that get washed before selling). If they got wet just a bit, I'd think their coating would protect them.
     
  10. Petra Pancake

    Petra Pancake Chillin' With My Peeps

    Update and questions (renewed post, sorry): My broody continues to sit happily in the new box that I moved her to yesterday.Two of the other hens laid properly in the old box today. But my lowest ranking hen who is a bit of a weirdo anyway, planted her egg in the broody box under the broody. And two of the broody's marked eggs somehow had wandered back into the old laying box and were lying there unattended together with the two new eggs. It seems that my great plan to keep the broody with the flock doesn't work all that well - I've got an ongoing egg chaos.

    Should I just carry on and hope something hatches anyway?
    Or should I separate her now with the eggs she has, even if some of them have been out of the nest on several occasions?
    Or should I throw the eggs out and separate her with new eggs? Would she be likely to carry on with them until they hatch or stop early?
     

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