First time broody hen!

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by ana2707, Jan 5, 2016.

  1. ana2707

    ana2707 Out Of The Brooder

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    Oct 3, 2015
    I have my first broody hen! I guess I am just asking opinions on what to do now and what to expect. I am always one to let nature take its course but was wondering if there was anything I should do to help her since it's below freezing here! I have only had chickens for about 5 months so any information is appreciated.
     
  2. nchls school

    nchls school Chillin' With My Peeps

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    What breed and how cold do your winters get? Our winters get below 0 degree F for weeks at a time. What kind of coop do you have? Many breeds can handle the cold, up to a point, and raise chicks.
     
  3. junebuggena

    junebuggena Chicken Obsessed

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    Is she sitting on eggs? Did you give those eggs to her all at once? Did you mark them? Is she brooding in a nest box where other hens can add to her clutch? How high off the ground is her nest?
    Sorry for all the questions, but they are important ones. If you let her collect a pile or other hens keep contributing, not all the eggs will hatch at the same time, leaving partially developed chicks unhatched, when she gets up to take care of the ones that already hatched. If she's sitting on too many eggs, she won't be able to keep them all warm enough for development. Generally, a hen can cover about 8 to 10 eggs. If you let her brood in the coop, you can try putting her and her eggs in a dog kennel for a bit of privacy. That way the flock will still have contact with her, but they can't add to her clutch. If you choose to separate her, integrating her and the chicks will be a bit more difficult as the flock will see her as a stranger after being gone for so long.
     
  4. ana2707

    ana2707 Out Of The Brooder

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    She's a RIR, it is about 28 here now and that's about as cold as it gets, I think I may have seen 19 once but it doesn't stay that temp long. Our days usually always warm up above freezing. I haven't seen below 0 in a long time, if ever.
     
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2016
  5. ana2707

    ana2707 Out Of The Brooder

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    I appreciate your questions because I don't exactly know what im doing. Yes she is sitting where it seems my two laying hens always lay. I can move her if needed into a dog kennel but would touching her eggs stop her from laying on them? I am kinda concerned because she got up for water and I saw 6 eggs, 3 of which seem to have cracks in the shells;( but the crack doesn't go all the way through.
     
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2016
  6. Bigwig

    Bigwig Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I would separate her from the rest of the flock to prevent them from laying more eggs in the nest box. It is best if all the eggs where laid at about the same time. I learned this lesson the hard way when I put eggs under a broody hen over a period of five days. Once the first few eggs hatched she started foraging with her brood and ended up breaking the remaining eggs and accidentally injuring the chicks inside. The way I separate my broody hens is I cover the nest that she is setting in with rabbit wire (I attach the wire to the top edge of the nest with staples or nails and loosely attach the bottom with a hook) and let the hen out twice daily to drink, eat, poop, and stretch her legs.
     
  7. nchls school

    nchls school Chillin' With My Peeps

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    She should be able to keep her chicks warm enough as long as they have shelter when your weather is at its worse.
     
  8. ana2707

    ana2707 Out Of The Brooder

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    The 6 eggs were laid over a span of 3-4 days. I'm a nurse so I won't be able to separate her until tonight (I found her like this, this morning), do you think she'll be okay until then.. Should I put in her a kennel inside the coop?
     
  9. junebuggena

    junebuggena Chicken Obsessed

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    This is what I do with my broodies. Nobody can bother her, but she's still in with the flock. It can take her a few days to get used to the new nest. When she gets off for her daily eat, drink, and poo she might go back to her original nesting spot at first. Just pick her up and put her back in the kennel nest. Seeing the eggs is all the encouragement needed for her set there till the next time she needs up.
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    After hatching the chicks out.
    While the chicks are hatching, the whole flock gathers around clucking like crazy. They can hear the chicks in the eggs, and they will cheer the little ones on.
     
  10. nchls school

    nchls school Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Be aware that some hens will not accept a move; others could be flown to a different continent and still keep on brooding.
     

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