Concern for broody

Futuregreenefarm

Songster
May 9, 2019
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Epworth, GA
I have a broody hen sitting on her nest in my backyard. She is apparently a wild hen in the neighborhood that no one claims and followed the neighbors rooster around. I'm very familiar with her. She hatched 12 chicks in the spring and brought them to my yard so I housed them quickly and still have 5 of them. I love having them but I have 2 cockerels and 3 pullets. Not an idea situation now that they are 18 weeks. The mother hen left them at 6 weeks and went back to rooster daddy. She has continued to lay eggs in my yard. Now she has been sitting on her nest with 7 eggs, I've counted them, for about 13 days now. I racked my brain trying to figure out if I should pull the eggs or see if she stayed and hatched. I decided to let her hatch knowing I take responsibility for the chicks, boys and all. But I am hoping for more pullets. My concerns for the broody are these: 1) Daddy rooster is now gone. Don't know the situation, just that he isn't around anymore and 2) she won't leave the nest as far as I can see. I saw her off some the first few days but the last few days I haven't caught her off the nest at all. I am concerned about her health. When I housed her and her chicks before she stayed with us til they were 6 weeks as stated. I am sure when these hatch if I provide shelter and food she will stay again. I wish I could intergrate her into my flock now that her rooster is gone and give her a home but she has always been free to roam and a little wild. Just any general guidance as I am new to chickens would be appreciated. Sorry so long.
 

oldhenlikesdogs

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A broody hen will leave the nest once a day to eat, drink and dust bath. Usually early in the morning or later in the afternoon. The last day or two she won't leave once the eggs start talking to her. You are probably missing when she is off or she's close to hatching.
 

aart

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When I housed her and her chicks before she stayed with us til they were 6 weeks as stated. I am sure when these hatch if I provide shelter and food she will stay again. I wish I could intergrate her into my flock now that her rooster is gone and give her a home but she has always been free to roam and a little wild.
How did you 'house' her?
Do you free range your flock?
How big is your coop?
What are your plans for the 'extra' males?
Do you have a male already?
 

Futuregreenefarm

Songster
May 9, 2019
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Epworth, GA
I quickly bought a prefab that the 5 from the previous hatch still live in. We "herded" her and the babies into it and kept it locked a couple of days. Within a day she had lead them into the coop and when we let them out a few days later, she continued to bring them back every night to sleep there. She raised them in the yard for 6 weeks.
My 5 are allowed to range in the yard in the evening where I monitor them. They have a netted run that they stay in until then. I don't leave them locked in the prefab.
The coop is small as it's a prefab. Okay for the 5 right now but adding more, I need more room.
I have 2 cockerels in my bunch. And 3 pullets. I've been trying to re-home them without much luck. One reason I let the eggs stay in the nest, hoping for more girls. My plan for the boys is this: my hubby and I are gonna build another coop, just an A-frame close to the sitting hen and I am pretty sure she will take the chicks into it once she comes off the nest (as before). Her survival and mothering skills are amazing. Once she raises them to 6 weeks, I hope to intergrate the pullets to my flock and move all the boys to the A-frame on the other side of my yard. And maybe rotate days I let them range? Maybe? And divide the flock between the coops for more room.
How does that sound as a plan?

@aart
 
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Futuregreenefarm

Songster
May 9, 2019
260
402
151
Epworth, GA
Honestly, I've been watching videos on processing chickens as well and I hope to one day get the nerve to do this. I'm not squimish, just afraid of wasting/ruining the meat from inexperience.
 

Futuregreenefarm

Songster
May 9, 2019
260
402
151
Epworth, GA
A broody hen will leave the nest once a day to eat, drink and dust bath. Usually early in the morning or later in the afternoon. The last day or two she won't leave once the eggs start talking to her. You are probably missing when she is off or she's close to hatching.
Thank you!
Yay! She came off yesterday and I was able to make sure she ate and drank some. She is so thin! BUT if you get too close, she blows up like an inflatable football lol
 

aart

Chicken Juggler!
Premium Feather Member
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Nov 27, 2012
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And maybe rotate days I let them range? Maybe? And divide the flock between the coops for more room.
How does that sound as a plan?
Rotation can work well.

Better to have one coop that will fit all the birds you want in a flock as they usually end end wanting to roost together. A separate coop and run for the boys is a good idea to have.

Slaughtering is another chickeneering learning curve, but well worth it IMO.
Not 'fun', can be a lot of 'work'(cleaning up afterward makes me tired just thinking about it), but pretty satisfying.
 

oldhenlikesdogs

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I have no idea, I eat my cockerels..
.. @oldhenlikesdogs might know, I believe she segregates males at times.
I always pen them where they can see the rest of the flock and interact through the fence. Some roosters are compatible, some aren't. Those that cause problems become dinner here. Putting them together when young helps. Taking your time integrating new ones is important too.

I think keeping them away from the flock would cause more frustration. It's like having to hear a movie, but not being able to see what's going on in it.
 

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