Calling all you brooding/hatching experts! What would you do? + pic

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by wbruder17, Sep 7, 2011.

  1. wbruder17

    wbruder17 Songster

    Jun 7, 2010
    Portland, OR
    I will try to make this description as short and concise as possible:

    My Austrolorpe is sitting on 9 eggs, in my brooding hutch. I am going out of town for 4 days, and my house-sitter will be staying here with the dogs and birds. The broody hen needs to be physically taken off the nest once a day and then re-caught and put back in the brooding hutch, which is fine by me, as I know how, have the time, etc. I put the food and water right next to her. (should I maybe put the food/water outside the box in the wire run??)

    My pet-sitter, is great with the animals and all, will chase a chicken around to get it back if it escapes, etc, but do I want to add the extra stress and pain in the butt for him to do this for that hen? There is a small wire run attached to the hutch, which is fine for the quail, but Henwyn doesn't like it. She wants to get out and stretch, stratch, dust bathe.

    Heres my question: if I mark the eggs and put them into the main coop in a regular nest box, what are the odds that Henwyn will stay broody and continue to set those eggs? What if another hen lays in that box? Henwyn is the head chicken, so I don't think anyone would kick her out of the nest, but???? she could very well go back to a different nest.

    What if I disconnected the run of the hutch and put that in the main coop, but still leave the eggs in the hutch? I think henwyn might give up on the hutch nest and try to make a new nest in her original nest box. She's stubborn like that.

    I know there are a MILLION scenarios I could go through about the odds of this and that, and then some.....however, What would you guys do in my situation? We are leaving very early Friday morning, so I have today and tomorrow to figure it out!

    Thanks you guys! Ive gotten so much adevice from you before, I know you will help now!

    Here's the hutch.
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2011
  2. extraordinaryfowl

    extraordinaryfowl Songster

    Sep 6, 2011
    Lancaster, PA
    Couldn't you move her food and water into the run part of the hutch and just keep her in there for 4 days? She might not like it but as long as she kept sitting on the eggs you wouldn't have a problem.

    Now, you can't hold me to this, but if I had to venture a guess I would say she would stay sitting if you moved her. Typically when my hens go broody, they sit for a few days to a couple of weeks on the plastic eater eggs and golf balls in the nest boxes, and if I want to hatch eggs from them I transfer them to a cage with some of the fake eggs. They always stay sitting.

    Could you move the whole hutch or just the coop part into your main chicken pen? Then she could come and go as she pleases.

    Hope this helps, MW
  3. HorseFeatherz NV

    HorseFeatherz NV Eggink Chickens

    Personally - I would leave her. Just be prepared to clean the hutch out when you get back - in case she has pottied in the hutch by the eggs.

    Unless she knows the pet sitter - there is a good chance that the pet sitter will stress her out.

    Move the food/water to the "cage" part of the hutch, so your pet sitter does not have to open the hutch and bother her.

    In the next couple days, try it out and see what she does. Does she go into the wire part or stick to the hutch.
  4. bobcart

    bobcart In the Brooder

    Sep 1, 2011
    Bolinas, CA
    I agree. Keep her in there as is and just have the sitter check the food and water. I also suggest you don't actively take her off her nest at all. if food is nearby, she will eat when she needs to. It's better to give her scratch to build weight or starter as she doesn't need the calcium from layer since she isn't laying.

    good luck!
  5. wbruder17

    wbruder17 Songster

    Jun 7, 2010
    Portland, OR
    She is getting a mixture of layer pellets and 6 grain scratch as well as scrambled eggs. She just about dies to get out of there to roll around in the dirt and scratch around. Its pretty hot here and they would normally get off the nest to do that anyway, right? I only let her out for about 30-45 minutes, then catch her again. Like I said, it works for me because I have the time to do it.

    However, your right about the babysitter. She will be fine in there for 3 days, I'm sure. She will either poop herself or not, which is nothing I haven't dealt with before. I just dont want her to die of thirst, hunger for not getting of the nest. I suppose that wouldnt happen in 3 days tho.

    I wonder if she can fit her fat rear end out the door?
  6. TigerLilly

    TigerLilly I failed Chicken Math

    Jul 18, 2010
    Central Florida
    I agree with bobcart & HorseFeatherz. Leave her where she is & just make sure she can get to her food & water.
  7. HorseFeatherz NV

    HorseFeatherz NV Eggink Chickens

    Be sure to dust her for lice and mites before you go. If she is doing A LOT of dust bathing - everyday - she might just need a dusting of Sevin dust or another lice/mite dust. Do not forget the nest - it will not hurt the eggs.

    Personally I always dust my sitting broodies - but that is just me.

    eta: she could also be getting some new feathers in, and they really itch at times.......thus the bathing
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2011
  8. Alexis

    Alexis Songster

    Jan 28, 2008
    Philomath, Oregon
    My broodies always get moved into a rabbit hutch for the duration of their setting time. It looks similar to your little hutch there, and I close them up and leave them - stress free. She should be fine if you move the food out away a bit, she'll go for it when she gets hungry/thirsty. Also, maybe consider putting a box in the small run area for dusting if it will put your mind at ease. I've used a cat litter box before and it works great!
  9. wbruder17

    wbruder17 Songster

    Jun 7, 2010
    Portland, OR
    Quote:That's a good idea! I will try to locate a dust bathing pan to put in there. She doesn't seem to get off the nest for anything, which is why I took her off in the first place. She acted like she couldn't get away from me fast enough....and I found out why....after 3 days on the nest she wasn't even put down for 20 seconds before the biggest broody poo I've ever seen came flying out. Like she couldn't hold it another second. My silkie usually just goes where she's sitting, which is grosser than enything, but at least I know she will poo. I also keep her food right in front of her face, because she actully did lose a bunchh of weight for not getting off the nest.

    Now Henwyn? She's a big girl and I don't worry too much about her losing a pound or two.

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