Can Brooding Hen Die on Nest?

ClareScifi

Songster
8 Years
Mar 30, 2011
1,888
52
204
I am worried. Little Merry Etta, my 2 1/2 year old silver-laced Sebright Bantam does not seem to have left her nest at all after becoming broody a week ago yesterday. Do you think I should remove her so she can get some exercise? She's wedged into a tight place, and I worry about her getting mites, but I might drop her if I try to pick her up, as she is a feisty one. Can brooding hens die on the nest from lack of food, water? I do throw alfalfa bits on her which she seems to be eating. It is cool and overcast today. What would you do?
 

Judy

Crowing
Premium member
10 Years
Feb 5, 2009
34,024
523
448
South Georgia
Yes, they can. It probably doesn't happen often, but it definitely happens. They need a bit of exercise about as much as they need daily food and water, to avoid too much muscle loss or wasting. Lice/mites can definitely be a serious problem for a broody, and of course cal also kill a bird if the infestation is serious enough.

I take my broodies off the nest daily whether I think they are getting up enough or not. I'm sure I'm odd in this, but broodies essentially always lose weight, so I figure it helps a little. I would definitely take yours off, at least once a day, and ollow or pester her enough to keep her on her feet for several minutes. You may want to move her nesting place so it's easier for you to get at her, and for her to get up. It could break her, yes, but I would think this is probably not highly likely since she is so reluctant to get off at all.
 

Spongegirl

Songster
8 Years
Jun 4, 2011
285
17
138
middle earth
I want to know too. If it were mine, I guess I'd leave her alone. Put her food near her and fruit for water. grapes hold lots of water. melon rinds. but take it out late afternoon so varmits aren't drawn near. I guess you can put water near too if you have a good water thing, i dont, i only use bowls and pans. If you catch her off the nest, sprinkle diatomaceous earth, maybe if you are worried about the mites. I don't think id worry about the bug pests for now. As far as a hen dying on a nest, I doubt it, but ive read where hens will sometimes never leave the nest. Interested to see what everyone else says.

I moved a nest once and the hens got so mad that they ate eggs and didn't lay for a week. Also, btw...people say this egg eating cant be corrected once its learned. My hens did it, or one did it, and now they are not. Now they are sitting on them.
 
Last edited:

Tricoglossus

Songster
7 Years
Mar 15, 2012
913
41
156
Perth, Western Australia
I've heard of them brooding themselves to death. If you are worried then take her off the nest and put her by the food and water each day. She won't stay off the nest for long, but by doing this most broodies will take the opportunity to eat, drink, have a little dust bath then back to the nest they go! If you are really worried about weight loss you could offer her some high fat seeds like hulled sunflower seeds along with her regular food at those times when you take her off the nest.
 

Morrigan

Free Ranging
5 Years
Apr 9, 2014
2,784
11,301
632
N. California
After mine hadn't left the nest in 3 days and had started soiling it, I forced her off once a day. Once off, she finally came out of her broody trance and spent about 20 minutes eating, drinking, dust bathing and bathrooming before returning to the nest.

It was a hassle getting her off the nest each day, but I'm glad I did it.
 

Judy

Crowing
Premium member
10 Years
Feb 5, 2009
34,024
523
448
South Georgia
Is it possible she is ill rather than broody, and that's why she is staying on the nest? I suppose it could be a little tricky to tell the difference, though if she did enough of the other classic broody behaviors like the growling, I'd probably be comfortable that she was just a very deterined broody.
 

ClareScifi

Songster
8 Years
Mar 30, 2011
1,888
52
204
This little gal was stubborn! I lifted her off the nest, and she seemed so grateful. There was no broody poop to be found ANYWHERE, and she immediately pooped when I brought her out of hiding. She also ate and drank as if she were famished and dying of thirst. Then she took a nice walk and visited the other chickens in another part of the run. She stretched and stretched her wings and took a dust bath. I don't think she had been off the nest once since sitting on it a week ago yesterday. She looked good-- no mites or lice in sight, though she did preen a lot. She ran and flew. I think the exercise did her quite a bit of good. She had some trouble figuring out how to get back on her nest since it's in a precarious place she has to fly down to, to get to. Tomorrow when I lift her off, I'll wait until she's back on her nest before putting her bowl of water and food back in the hole where she is. I think they made it too cramped for her to fly back in easily. They looked untouched...I am so glad she seems to be okay. I was worried she might have an injury. You never know, and I couldn't get to her easily. When I picked her up she didn't resist at all, which is unlike her. She's usually extremely feisty and hard to hold onto. She seemed to appreciate my help, sweet little gal. She is hoping to hatch 5 fertilized eggs that are not her own. This is Day 8. Exciting! She was off the nest only about 20 minutes. How I love her!
 

Morrigan

Free Ranging
5 Years
Apr 9, 2014
2,784
11,301
632
N. California
This little gal was stubborn! I lifted her off the nest, and she seemed so grateful. There was no broody poop to be found ANYWHERE, and she immediately pooped when I brought her out of hiding. She also ate and drank as if she were famished and dying of thirst. Then she took a nice walk and visited the other chickens in another part of the run. She stretched and stretched her wings and took a dust bath. I don't think she had been off the nest once since sitting on it a week ago yesterday. She looked good-- no mites or lice in sight, though she did preen a lot. She ran and flew. I think the exercise did her quite a bit of good. She had some trouble figuring out how to get back on her nest since it's in a precarious place she has to fly down to, to get to. Tomorrow when I lift her off, I'll wait until she's back on her nest before putting her bowl of water and food back in the hole where she is. I think they made it too cramped for her to fly back in easily. They looked untouched...I am so glad she seems to be okay. I was worried she might have an injury. You never know, and I couldn't get to her easily. When I picked her up she didn't resist at all, which is unlike her. She's usually extremely feisty and hard to hold onto. She seemed to appreciate my help, sweet little gal. She is hoping to hatch 5 fertilized eggs that are not her own. This is Day 8. Exciting! She was off the nest only about 20 minutes. How I love her!
Excellent news!
 
Top Bottom