Chicken is broody but keeps leaving her eggs to be with another hen that is broody

chickflic

Hatching
7 Years
Oct 13, 2012
4
0
7
My brooding chicken hen won't return to her nest of eggs after her daily stretch/water/feed. She instead goes into another nest with a different hen that is also on eggs. However, once I remove her from the neighbor's nest and put her back on her eggs she will stay there for the day/night. I have to stay on top of the situation or I could find her off the eggs for too long of a time. This is my (and their) first time hatching and I am worried what will happen to some of the chicks when the eggs hatch, if the goofy hen keeps leaving. Is it ok to put both hens together in a floor nest box at any time before the hatch date to ensure that all eggs (and then chicks) are attended to? I will have to move them anyway because they are up high. They obviously tolerate each other. They were even in the box together going broody before I got fertile eggs from someone with a rooster to put under them. She continues to do this daily and has done it since I first gave them the eggs. One is a cochin bantam (2 yr old) and the goofy one is a silkie (1 yr old). Does anyone have any experience with this? I am assuming that because she is not a reliable brooder she may also end up being an unreliable mother, but only time will tell. Would like some advice to head off trouble.
 

Nocila

Chirping
7 Years
Jun 23, 2012
225
8
83
My broody hens have always had trouble keeping to one nest. If I'm not careful, I'll have one hen switch nests two or three times a day, due to another hen wanting to lay an egg in her nest. I finally decided to try putting my hens in cat boxes when they go broody, and the hens seem quite happy. They can't switch nests, and we got chicks for the first time ever. Just because a hen is switching nests doesn't mean that she will be an unreliable mother, it just means that she is easily confused, and has trouble remembering which nest is hers. I'd probably give her a cat box or some other form of cage, and put some straw, food, and water in with her. She won't be able to switch nests, and she can have her chicks without fear.
 

chickflic

Hatching
7 Years
Oct 13, 2012
4
0
7
That is a great idea Nocila. I have a cat carrier so I will try that! I just don't have enough experience to come up with even the simple ideas. Thanks.
 

Tuhmu

Songster
7 Years
May 22, 2012
1,460
168
212
North Dakota
I personally didn't have any luck with transferring my hen to another nest (best of luck it works for you
) but I am currently using a different strategy someone on BYC said, with my current broody.

I let her pick the nest box she wants and stapled a section of chicken wire over the opening, leaving one corner open; which I can open and shut with a bent nail. I let her out in the morning and in the evening, before and after work. She doesnt usually come out in the morning, but in the evening i make her come out if she doesnt on her own. She quick gets a bite to eat and a sip of water, relieves herself, then hops back in. Process takes about half an hour. So far its been working with her golf balls, hoping to give her some real eggs on wed/thurs.
 

Nocila

Chirping
7 Years
Jun 23, 2012
225
8
83
I tried to lock my hen into a nest with chicken wire once... She ended up forcing her way out somehow, and she flipped out. When I moved her into the cat carrier, she seemed to handle it a lot better, and she adjusted pretty quickly. It's better to switch the nest at the very beginning of the broody cycle, as the move might take a little while to adjust to, depending on the bird (my old english game hen adjusted within a minute or two, but my asil [a very agressive hen] took a while longer to adjust). If your hen is well tempered, as I'd imagine a silkie would be, she should be able to move over without too much trouble, and if there is trouble, and she doesn't adjust quickly enough, you could always graft chicks (put chicks under her at night) to her once she has settled in her new nest (don't try to graft chicks to an aggressive bird though, they tend to recognize whether the chicks are theirs or not).
 

chickflic

Hatching
7 Years
Oct 13, 2012
4
0
7
Thanks for the discussion and further input. I appreciate your time in replying.
 

chickflic

Hatching
7 Years
Oct 13, 2012
4
0
7
Since this hen stays on her eggs all day I don't have a real problem yet...I was more worried about when the chicks come and having the goofy hen abandon. Closing her into a cage right now is not really warranted, but I appreciate the info on what to try in case it becomes warranted. I am still doing the daily check to put her back on the right nest after she eats. I pull her off to eat, set a timer for 10 minutes and go back out and make sure she is on the right nest. This has been working. I am going to let her hatch where she is, then I will move both hens with their chicks to separate cages. This will require my attention in the coop for possibly a 48 hour period, but I have the time to do it.
 

Tuhmu

Songster
7 Years
May 22, 2012
1,460
168
212
North Dakota
Glad you have a battle plan ready
. Best of luck to you, your mamas and may you get many flufferbutts!
 
Top Bottom