first broody hen questions


9 Years
Dec 14, 2010
Seminole, Oklahoma
My broody hen just switched nesting boxes! She was sitting on two eggs. I marked them and let her be. I collect eggs daily from all of the nesting boxes, so every day I'd lift her and remove any new eggs. She has been sitting on her eggs for almost a week now. Today when I was checking my boxes, I noticed she moved to a different box. There were five eggs under her. I took them and put her back on her original eggs. But Im thinking that the originals are ruined since they weren't sat on all day and weren't warm. Maybe she just wanted more eggs to sit on?
Working with broodies can be difficult, and when they get up to go eat, drink, and relieve themselves, they can frequently return to the WRONG nest box.

If she was off the eggs for too long, then the incubating chicks will have died.

I plan to only use a confined area (broody box) for all future efforts at brooding with a hen. She gets a dedicated nest box, her own food and water, and space to poop. She is confined to this area.

Otherwise, it invariably happens that the clutch is lost--only once in seven years have I had a hen that managed to hatch any eggs while not separated.
They may be fine. Especially in warm weather a broody may stay off the nest for a while and the eggs still hatch. This is why people say it's better to separate a broody -- although I usually haven't so I've had this kind of thing happen. I've gotten more chicks than I feared I might get at times. My biggest disaster was not from the hen leaving the nest, or the eggs getting jostled, but from a broody who killed her chicks as they hatched.

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I have my first broody hen still inside the coop with all the others. She has not moved from that nesting box at all. They are due go hatch on the 31st. I have no clue what to do with them when they hatch. Leave them with mommy or srperate them?

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