Chicken in nesting box for hours...anything to do?

griggy

Chirping
5 Years
Feb 3, 2014
138
11
83
One of my girls went in the nesting box over 2 hours ago. I kept checking on her because I wanted to get the egg out before it froze, as the temperature just dropped and we are getting snow flurries. Now it is dark and the rest of the chickens went to bed and she is still in the box...is there anything I can/should do?

(Worried chicken mom here)
 

azygous

Crossing the Road
10 Years
Dec 11, 2009
18,584
22,679
912
Colorado Rockies
She could be broody. Have you noticed her behavior changing over the last week? Low, deep clucking, irritable with the others, her soft tummy feathers showing up around the coop and nest boxes? When you go to touch her on the nest, does she scold you?

You could leave her there and see if she stays there after morning comes. You can be pretty certain then that you have a broody on your hands. Then you need to decide if you want her to sit on some fertilized eggs or do you wish to break her and get her laying again soon. Otherwise, she'll be out of commission for the next 21 days or longer if she hatches chicks.
 

Puddin Fluff

Crowing
7 Years
Mar 30, 2012
5,362
387
291
River Valley, AR
Also if she is a young bird, some times their laying times get messed up and she may still be feeling the urge to lay an egg. Most likely she will spend the night on the nest and leave it in the morning. Mine did that some when they were young.

Just another possibility.
 

heartsizedfarm

Songster
5 Years
Feb 24, 2014
1,634
182
168
Cambridge, Ontario, Canada
Yeah I had one, she hasn't laid an egg for a year, but she took to the nesting box, one day nothing, two days nothing, a couple of days out and foraging and mingling, then bingo! An egg! I should have it bronzed.
 

griggy

Chirping
5 Years
Feb 3, 2014
138
11
83
She could be broody. Have you noticed her behavior changing over the last week? Low, deep clucking, irritable with the others, her soft tummy feathers showing up around the coop and nest boxes? When you go to touch her on the nest, does she scold you?

You could leave her there and see if she stays there after morning comes. You can be pretty certain then that you have a broody on your hands. Then you need to decide if you want her to sit on some fertilized eggs or do you wish to break her and get her laying again soon. Otherwise, she'll be out of commission for the next 21 days or longer if she hatches chicks.
Yes..that is exactly what she is doing. Now what?
 

Egghead_Jr

Crowing
9 Years
Oct 16, 2010
7,094
2,833
406
NEK, VT
If you don't want her to hatch eggs then I've found the best way to break a broody is to put her in a cage in the run. Have it elevated some on blocks and give her food and water, no bedding. In a few days she wont be sitting anymore and broken of the broodyness.

Or put a dozen fertile eggs under her. Move her to another nest if you want prior or move her to a crate with nest and eggs. It's all on if the other birds are anxious and really want to lay in her nest or if she picked an unused nest to sit on.
 

griggy

Chirping
5 Years
Feb 3, 2014
138
11
83
There is only one nesting box. They are in my small coop that has four chickens. They all share the box. When I went out there a little bit ago, she was sitting on 3 eggs. She did get up to get a treat.

What would happen if she sat on fertile eggs? Would the other hens be bothered? Could a chick live with the mom after?
 

Egghead_Jr

Crowing
9 Years
Oct 16, 2010
7,094
2,833
406
NEK, VT
She needs a separate nest. She'll sit for 21 days getting up once a day to drink, eat and poop.

You have a rooster for fertile eggs right?
 

azygous

Crossing the Road
10 Years
Dec 11, 2009
18,584
22,679
912
Colorado Rockies
Yes, if you let her sit in the same nest that the other hens lay eggs in, she'll just end up sitting on all the eggs the other hens lay for the next three weeks. If you have no rooster, it would be fruitless to let her sit on the eggs since no chicks will hatch from unfertile eggs.

Or you can buy fertile eggs from someone with a rooster. But where are you going to put all the new chickens you end up with?

You can break her of being broody by placing her in a cage that has no bedding and a wire, open-mesh bottom so they air can circulate under her. This cools her body temperature down so the hormones will decrease over the next two or three days. A fan rigged up under her cage to circulate the air speeds up the process. It usually takes three days and she will quit wanting to sit on a nest. She'll return to laying eggs in a couple weeks after that.

Some hens are so determines to be broody, though, she could go broody again in another four or five weeks. I have a hen who has been broody ten times in her short life.
 
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