First time broody hen

Walshchick

In the Brooder
Mar 31, 2020
11
4
13
My seven month old Sophia has gone broody. I’m excited and nervous because this is my first experience with a broody hen. I don’t have fertile eggs right now (Rocky the rooster isn’t old enough yet) however my neighbor did give me 5 fertile eggs. I had read an article about setting up a “maternity ward” for her so that’s what I did. I am having to do all this within the coop/chicken yard. I put the eggs and Sophia in the “ward” and she was NOT happy and refused to sit on the eggs. While opening the lid to adjust her water, she jumped right out. I decided to do it her way....I marked the eggs, put them in one of the regular nesting boxes and that made her happy. This morning she did go outside to eat but when she went back into the coop she got into a different nesting box....leaving the eggs unattended. Is that normal?? We’re only on day 3 of this. I ended up putting the eggs under her and she didn’t refuse them. I’m just not sure what is normal behavior and how much I should interfere. Advice is greatly appreciated!
 

DobieLover

Easily distracted by chickens
Premium Feather Member
Jul 23, 2018
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My seven month old Sophia has gone broody. I’m excited and nervous because this is my first experience with a broody hen. I don’t have fertile eggs right now (Rocky the rooster isn’t old enough yet) however my neighbor did give me 5 fertile eggs. I had read an article about setting up a “maternity ward” for her so that’s what I did. I am having to do all this within the coop/chicken yard. I put the eggs and Sophia in the “ward” and she was NOT happy and refused to sit on the eggs. While opening the lid to adjust her water, she jumped right out. I decided to do it her way....I marked the eggs, put them in one of the regular nesting boxes and that made her happy. This morning she did go outside to eat but when she went back into the coop she got into a different nesting box....leaving the eggs unattended. Is that normal?? We’re only on day 3 of this. I ended up putting the eggs under her and she didn’t refuse them. I’m just not sure what is normal behavior and how much I should interfere. Advice is greatly appreciated!
Is she nesting on the ground?
A broody grafts to the nest site more than the eggs. The way you move them is to put them on the new nest, that should be somewhat secluded for her and let her graft to it on fake eggs. If she doesn't break and eventually settles on the nest you leave her for a few days and monitor her breaks so you can correct her when she goes back to where she first went broody. It usually takes about 3 to 5 corrections before she reliably goes back to the maternity ward. THEN you give her fresh fertile eggs.
Hatching in an elevated nest is dangerous for the chicks. I lost a chick that fell out of a ground nest box and couldn't make the 4" jump back up and it died of hypothermia.
 

Walshchick

In the Brooder
Mar 31, 2020
11
4
13
Is she nesting on the ground?
A broody grafts to the nest site more than the eggs. The way you move them is to put them on the new nest, that should be somewhat secluded for her and let her graft to it on fake eggs. If she doesn't break and eventually settles on the nest you leave her for a few days and monitor her breaks so you can correct her when she goes back to where she first went broody. It usually takes about 3 to 5 corrections before she reliably goes back to the maternity ward. THEN you give her fresh fertile eggs.
Hatching in an elevated nest is dangerous for the chicks. I lost a chick that fell out of a ground nest box and couldn't make the 4" jump back up and it died of hypothermia.
Is she nesting on the ground?
A broody grafts to the nest site more than the eggs. The way you move them is to put them on the new nest, that should be somewhat secluded for her and let her graft to it on fake eggs. If she doesn't break and eventually settles on the nest you leave her for a few days and monitor her breaks so you can correct her when she goes back to where she first went broody. It usually takes about 3 to 5 corrections before she reliably goes back to the maternity ward. THEN you give her fresh fertile eggs.
Hatching in an elevated nest is dangerous for the chicks. I lost a chick that fell out of a ground nest box and couldn't make the 4" jump back up and it died of hypothermia.
Thank you for your information. When your hen was broody was she still in with the full flock or did you separate her out?
 

DobieLover

Easily distracted by chickens
Premium Feather Member
Jul 23, 2018
34,652
282,463
1,642
NY Southern Tier
My Coop
My Coop
Thank you for your information. When your hen was broody was she still in with the full flock or did you separate her out?
I've allowed 4 different hens to go the distance. They had their own area on the floor within the built-in maternity ward with attached run but came and went within the flock. I would toss them off the nest each morning before I started chores to allow them time to drop their monster broody poop, scratch around, dust bathe, eat and then made sure they went back to their nest without anyone molesting the nest. The rooster would always come visit them at some point during the incubation.
 

Walshchick

In the Brooder
Mar 31, 2020
11
4
13
I've allowed 4 different hens to go the distance. They had their own area on the floor within the built-in maternity ward with attached run but came and went within the flock. I would toss them off the nest each morning before I started chores to allow them time to drop their monster broody poop, scratch around, dust bathe, eat and then made sure they went back to their nest without anyone molesting the nest. The rooster would always come visit them at some point during the incubation.
Thank you so much! You’ve been very helpful and given me direction on a few things I need to change up.
 

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