Does mama stay or go?


In the Brooder
10 Years
May 16, 2009
I see there is a very l-o-n-g thread Old Fashioned Broody Hen Hatch A Long and Informational Thread.

After I got up in it a few pages I realized I could read this whole thing and not find my answer;)

So thought I would post.
I have a Buff Orphington who went broody on me. I thought it would be fun to get some fertilized eggs. Found them in the next town over. 6 of them.

Now my questions are, Should I seperate her and the eggs to somewhere else? I do not have any roosters. I do have one mean chicken, Ruby, and her side kick Lola who could get ugly. But I do have a portable run I can put them two in if necessary. So what do ya'll think?

The other thing is do I have to do anything special with the Buff while she is settin'? She is in the nesting box and when I go up to her she puffs up big but she doesnt peck at me. This kinda concerns me if the other chickens try to get at the babies.

And if I get the eggs tomorrow, place them under the Buff she will take care of the rest, right? I was reading they hatch at about 21 days. Have any of you had them go longer? We are going out of town on day 27. Nice neighbors will be taking care of the chickens. (they get the eggs for free). Do you think I should seperate the momma and chickes while we are gone?

Thanks so much!
We have our setting hen Snowball a white wyandotte and we put her in one of the nursery coops with a nesting box to reduce stress from the other chickens cause if they try to get her out of the nest,things will get ugly and they may even break the eggs if a fight happens and yeah she is suppose to puff up like that she is expanding her body to warm the eggs cause when i first saw snowball do that i asked my mom Why does she look like that?! and your not suppose to let them go longer cause if they are duds her weight will bust them and that is a FOUL SMELL and she can get an infection from it if it stays on her plus she will have lost alot of weight from not going to eat as much as she would like and so if they are duds you will have to force her off to make her go eat and she has to loosen her body since she will be stiff
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I had the same situation without a roo and went to the next town to get six fertile eggs. I put my broody in a crate within the coop and let her out twice a day if she chose to. I did this because they all kept laying eggs for her and the fertile ones would get pushed out. She was a small silkie mix and could only handle six. I would have a smal porcelain bowl of H2o and grain in with her and she would come out to stretch and poo and go back in within 10 minutes.

21 days is the norm. Don't touch them, just let her do her thing. Most often they will push out the ones that are not maturing and die if there is one. You can candle them but I did not as I would not know what I was looking at, LOL!

After they were one week I left the crate door open all the time and she started bringing them out. At two weeks she was free ranging with them. No one messed with them at all!!!! At three and a half weeks I removed the crate and they all sleep in a nest box together. Mom still won't go back to roost but when she is ready I am sure she will bring themwith her. They roos in the run and in the trees on occasion so they may all be ready soon

Special note: They cannot eat egg maker grain because the calcium is toxic to them. I switched mine all over to Game bird grower 22% protein so they could all eat from the same feeder. I was told to add calcium as a treat to the older girls if their shells are too thin. So far so good. You are going to be hooked!!
I've always just let the broodies stay with the mixed flock of Mutts I have------they don't seem to have any problems with the other chickens. But then I have a large run with plenty of room. The mother hens protect their chicks/keets from anything including the rest of the flock.
WOW good posts! Thanks!

My coup is 8 x 4 and about 10 ft high. there are 3 roosting poles up high in it. There are 2 nesting boxes.
The outside run is 15 x 8. I have 12 chickens right now. But if these little chickies steal my heart I might be willing to get rid of some of the older ones.

I asked the kids what they thought if we made them roasters/fryers, they said they would boycott chicken altogether! LOL

So it sounds like the the babies would be okay with the buff in with the other girls and that I should remove Ruby and Lola just to be safe. Or remove the buff and the babies for the week we will be on vacation then re introduce them back?

What do ya think of that?
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I would not remove anyone as it is even worse trying to re-introduce. Momma will have plenty of room in your coop and run and she will also have some new courage that comes along with motherhood. They should respect her a bit more. You will have at least 5 days to feel them out before you go away. You should be able to leave her crate door open by the time you go away and all should be fine. Sorry to say any of mine that are boys will be dinner
My Broody hatched hers yesterday in the coop with the other 15 hens. She was in the favorite box to boot. It is on the third story of a stack of boxes. This morning when I did the chores she was trying to coax the chicks down. This was the only thing she needed help with. I scooped them up and put them in a partioned area. She followed me in there and immediately started to show them where the food was. I closed the opening behind her. It is only 2 ft. high so she can still get over it but the chicks can't get out and get lost.
Thats her in the middle

Eating and scratching lessons

Kodac moment
Awwww she is too cute! Another thought. The bigger hens I give them pellets so then the babies would need crumble. Where do I put the food if the bigger hens are there? They eat anything that is not nailed down! LOL

I like those nesting boxes! I wonder if I should make her one of her own? The one she is in is the favorite. They all lay there unless it gets filled up then I have one who lays on the floor and only as a last resort will they lay in the other nesting box. Not really sure why they favor the one?
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