First broody hen, one egg, can't get at her, bad spot to do this thing. Help?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by ChaoSS, Jan 25, 2015.

  1. ChaoSS

    ChaoSS Chillin' With My Peeps

    322
    45
    103
    Mar 24, 2014
    So I'm pretty sure I have my first broody hen. I went back to check on everyone, and I was missing one of my hens. (Buff Orpington, under a year old, so I guess technically a pullet at this point).

    So after looking around awhile I finally found her. Next to my property is a ponding basin that has a chain link fence all the way around it. The houses behind my house have their own fences that form the back fence to my back yard, and that fence runs along the back of my yard and then next to the ponding basin fence. So at the back of my property I have a small gap in the corner, and if you squeeze back there it's just a space between two fences that runs for a way before you can't go any further. I have it blocked so the dogs can't get back there, but the chickens do occasionally venture back there. The house behind me has some viny plant that has taken over back there, so I can't hardly even see back there. So after looking around back there, I finally saw her between the fences. Didn't look like she was moving, so I figured she was dead, but I couldn't see any reason for her to be dead, didn't seem to be any distortions or anything to indicate she had gotten caught on anything and broken bones or anything like that. So I figured maybe she was just stuck back there, so I climbed over the fence into the ponding basin, cleared back the plants, and finally got to her. I poked at her to see if she was cold, and she suddenly bit me. So I got a stick through the fence, pushed her around a little bit to make sure she wasn't caught on something and stuck, and finally saw an egg under her.

    So now, I have a hen, sitting one egg, between two fences that I can't get between, probably 8 feet back. The chickens and dogs both have free roam of the yard, the dogs treat the chickens ok but I'm not sure how well a new baby would do. It's not in a good spot where I could her her any food or water very close to her, she doesn't have the greatest protection from the weather, and while this is central California we are hitting temperatures close to freezing and we do get very heavy, very wet fog that soaks everything and some rain here and there. All the chickens prefer to sleep in the rain on top of the coop or the run to sleeping inside the coop, but that is off the cold ground, and this hen is, obviously, on the cold ground.

    My options, as I see it, are:
    1 Leave her. She sits one egg, and if that egg hatches the chicken may not have the best chance of surviving.

    2. Figure out a way to hook a looped rope onto a long stick, loop it around her neck, and drag her out. Doesn't seem ideal.

    3. Use a stick through the chain link to push her, little bit by little bit, to where I can get her. No idea if this would even work, I had a hard enough time budging her to see that she was sitting on an egg.

    4. I could try to dig under the fence where she is at, I'm not sure how far down the fence goes into the ground, it's very old, it's been having leaves and other debris building up around it for a very long time, this might not really work very well.

    - Either of these options could still result in her deciding she wants to go back in there, even if I give her some other nest, so I'm guessing I'd have to build her an enclosure I can lock up completely.



    Ideas, people? Do I leave her, and try to set up a small fenced off area that she can come into and bring the one baby into just outside the gap so the dogs can't get it? If I do that should I try to fish out the egg she is sitting on and try to give her some new eggs to sit on so I can get more eggs hatching?
     
  2. justplainbatty

    justplainbatty Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,784
    136
    228
    Nov 30, 2007
    emmet MI
    That's quite the problem! I would not recommend option 2 it might break her neck. You might try the fenced off area by the gap like you said or even a little wooden box there. If you are able to gently drop more fertilized eggs right in front of her, she may tuck those in as well. She seems to feel quite safe where she is but it is kinda dicey. Good luck!
     
  3. Naser

    Naser Chillin' With My Peeps

    313
    88
    121
    Oct 29, 2014
    Ireland
    If you have live trap put some food and water in the trap and see if she gets into it.
     
  4. ChaoSS

    ChaoSS Chillin' With My Peeps

    322
    45
    103
    Mar 24, 2014
    I'm not too sure about the live trap just because I am not able to get out there and check things as much as I would like...

    What kind of box should I be looking to put together for her? 2x2x2? Bigger? I'm not entirely sure how to go about it if I'm going to try to trap her in there so she doesn't return to the original spot.
     
  5. TalkALittle

    TalkALittle Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,606
    578
    181
    Dec 15, 2014
    Massachusetts
    Can you spray her with water and knock or poke the egg away from her? I'd be worried that a predator would get her if you just left her be.
     
  6. ChaoSS

    ChaoSS Chillin' With My Peeps

    322
    45
    103
    Mar 24, 2014
    I'm not going to spray her, it's not getting warm enough around here to be comfortable with soaking her like that, she probably wouldn't dry out decently well before night time.


    What happens if I get the egg away from her? Does she keep laying a spot with no egg? Find a new set of eggs to sit on?
     
  7. TalkALittle

    TalkALittle Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,606
    578
    181
    Dec 15, 2014
    Massachusetts
    I'll admit I've never had a broody hen before but I think if you can get the egg away she might be more likely to give up and leave the spot. I've not read any advice on how to break a broody you can't reach. I wonder if she'd give up if you could make the spot less inviting? Shine a bright light on her and play the radio loudly near her? Hopefully someone else has a suggestion. You seem to be in quite a predicament.
     
  8. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

    35,810
    9,319
    656
    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    Climb the fence, get the bird back to your coop and block the gap in fence that she got thru.

    A large wire dog crate (~30" x 30" x 40"0 would work for a broody pen, put it right in the coop....or partition off part of the coop with wire.
     
    Last edited: Jan 26, 2015
  9. howfunkyisurchicken

    howfunkyisurchicken Overrun With Chickens

    9,279
    728
    321
    Apr 11, 2011
    Tn
    Since you can't reach her between the two fences, you might have to wait for her to come off the nest. Don't put food near her. If she has to go back to the coop to feed and water herself, you may have a chance at getting her. They're sneaky though, so you'll have to be vigilant.
    You could try moving her along with a stick, but broody hens are usually very determined to stay on their nests and if you do get her to move, she then be very determined to get back to it.

    Some hens will leave their nests if they're eggs are taken, other will continue to sit on nothing. You really wont know until you take it away.

    Good luck. Its probably time to block that area off so the chickens can't access it anymore!
     
  10. ChaoSS

    ChaoSS Chillin' With My Peeps

    322
    45
    103
    Mar 24, 2014
    I can't climb the fence to get at her. I can get at her through the fence, I cleared the brush back, but she is between two fences and there is not enough room for me to get through there.


    howfunky, you are right, it's probably time to block that area off. I kind of forgot about it, since the dogs can't get through there.


    I'm assuming chickens are willing to range a little bit to get at food? The chickens food is in their run, so I'm assuming she will be fine if her nearest food source (and water source) is 50 feet away and over a 6 foot fence? They don't have problems flying over that fence any other time, so I'm assuming she's ok....
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by