broody--now what?

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by spell, Mar 24, 2011.

  1. spell

    spell Out Of The Brooder

    Jul 5, 2010
    so we think she's broody....
    i've been reading around here and not really figuring out what i want to know. we just found 'red' hogging up the only nest box in the new coop today. actually it's supposed to be a split box with 2 nests but the official split hasn't happened yet.
    i can get some other boxes in and i've temporarily divided the one we have because a line was forming.
    so now what? if we let her sit and the other hens have boxes to use, will she just handle this on her own?
    do i need to make special 'accommodations' for her and any possible chicks?
    AND to beat all, she's sitting on 1 egg and a golf ball! [​IMG] will she continue to lay till she has a pile?
    (the golf ball is b/c they were laying all over the place and we just moved them to the new coop last week and i forgot to take it out).

    thanks for your help! if you don't want to explain all of this, some search advice would be great. this site is soooo big, i sometimes have a hard time locating things.~ again, thanks
  2. peeppeeppeep

    peeppeeppeep Out Of The Brooder

    Apr 10, 2009
    Shasta County
    My own experience - I would move her. We tried to let our broody hens hatch in the henhouse and everyone else kept climbing into their nest and laying so we couldn't tell what was what. It was a real mess.
  3. CCourson05

    CCourson05 Popping like kettle corn...

    Jan 5, 2011
    Hickory Flat, MS
    Let's see where to start. Does she scream and peck at you when you approach her? If yes, then she is most likely broody.

    Next, You can leave her in there, and mark the egg(s) she will be allowed to sit on... That way, when you go to collect eggs, you get the ones without the marks, and leave the ones she is to sit on.

    Hope it helps. [​IMG]
  4. clarmayfarm

    clarmayfarm Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 5, 2010
    Shenandoah Valley, VA
    Sounds like you have a chicken mama "wannabe"!

    No, you do not want to leave her broody with other chickens...she may do fine but they will get in her nest if she goes off to drink or eat...they could lay more eggs with hers, break an egg, etc.

    If you want her to hatch some eggs, collect some for a couple of days and then set them all at once under her, pulling the golf ball and original out. If she is already sitting, she may not lay more.

    I will often take a broody and move her into a private "dog kennel" or crate so she can eat, drink, and sit in peace. I will let her out once or twice a day for exercise. If you move her and her nest in the evening, she will likely wake up in the am and accept her new home.

    Good luck!

  5. Judy

    Judy Chicken Obsessed Staff Member Premium Member

    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    I've done it both ways, and I've had a broody freak out and stop being broody because I moved her. If you leave her with the others, it's best to check on her several times a day. I've lost a couple of egg doing this, probably from jostling. But I do like the mama raising the chicks with the flock. Last time, I separated her for the setting but let everyone out a couple of days after hatch was done. Worked out fine.
  6. spell

    spell Out Of The Brooder

    Jul 5, 2010
    thanks for the tips y'all!
    she did get up and we collected the egg she had plus the others that had been laid by the hen's that waited for me to separate the box. and the golf ball!

    and yes she did scream and peck at me when i got near her and threatened any other hen that came near.

    so, for those that move the broody and then let her raise the chicks with the flock, how does that work out? do the hens leave the chicks alone? do you confine them to the house for a length of time before letting them out?
  7. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    First, try reading this. It talks about whether or not to separate her and gives some hints as to what to do either way. People successfully do it both ways. If you decide to leave her in with the others, it is important to mark the eggs and check at least once a day to remove any new eggs. Also make sure you collect all the eggs you want her to hatch before you give them to her.

    Isolate a Broody? Thread

    The way I tell a hen is broody is that she has to spend two consecutive nights one the nest instead of on her favorite roosting spot. Sometimes hens will pretend to be broody, but that two consecutive nights has worked for me.

    When the broody hatches, I wait until she moves them off the nest, then put her and the chicks in an enclosure for a couple of days. Then I let the hen and chicks loose and she raises them with the flock. The reason I isolate them for a couple of days is that I find the chicks learn to eat and drink better if they do not have to compete with the older hens for food. When I have young chicks in with the flock, I feed them all starter or grower, with oyster shell on the side for the adults. The older chickens seem to think that any food close to the ground where the chicks can reach it is a special treat and needs to be wiped out first. After I let them loose, I put one of those red feeders under this so the chicks can get to it through the ends but the adults cannot get to the food.


    Do the hens leave the chicks alone? Sometimes. Some flocks have hens that seem to seek out and try to destroy young chicks. Usually Mama will teach that hen some facts of life, such as leave my babies alone or you have to deal with me. Sometimes, however, the Mama does not protect her babies the way she should. Each chicken has its own personality. A lot of flocks do not have hens that will go after young chicks. That makes it easier on Mama. I find a big help is for Mama to have a lot of room to work. Usually she will keep the chicks away from the other hens if she can. If space is tight, there is more chance of something bad happen.

    There are advantages and disadvantages of a hen raising the chicks with the flock. I really like that Mama handles the integration issues for the chicks. There is a risk with them growing up with the flock that the other hens might hurt them, but I think Mama taking care of integration issues more than makes up for that risk.
  8. spell

    spell Out Of The Brooder

    Jul 5, 2010
    thanks for the link ridgerunner!
    the boy let them out this morning so, i'll have to see what's going on up there today.
    definitely good info to file for future reference.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by