First time with broody....

vkp23

Songster
10 Years
Jul 10, 2009
364
1
119
My house
Our BO seems to be ready for motherhood. She's made herself a nest in the rubbermaid boxes we made into nest boxes. So A+ to her for doing like we wanted. She is only on one egg right now, but she seems to be doing just like she should. She was MIA til the hubby went out to feed the chickies. She came out, ate, and went right back to her nest. So she seems to know what she's doing so far, and wont be starving herself. My question is, see, this is our first time with a broody, and I was thinking we should move her, box and all, to our large dog pen/crate thing to make sure her chicks will be safe after they hatch. My husband is insisting they will be fine since chickens run in flocks in the "wild". So there should be no problem with the others killing them once they hatch. I plan on giving her tomorrows eggs since she tried to go broody before but, it didn't stick so I'm waiting another day to make sure. Should we move her? The nest boxes are on the floor of the chicken house and the chicken house it only about three inches off the ground with a small ramp. So I'm not worried about them falling. Just worried about what the other chickens will do. Any advice on how to care for her is welcomed.
 

sumpenny

In the Brooder
10 Years
Aug 5, 2009
16
0
22
I find myself in a similar position. One of my hens stays in one of the nest boxes and only comes out to eat. I'm not sure how many eggs she's laying on. This is probably going to sound utterly ridiculous, but do they just know that the eggs have been fertilized? What I mean is, is there ever a possibility that the eggs are not fertilized? I've been reading other posts that suggest moving her to her own pen so the other chickens won't peck at her.
 

SmartyChick

An Official Milkmaid
10 Years
Oct 19, 2009
1,442
2
151
Sullivan County NY
Congrats on your broody! Make sure the nest is portable (like a dog crate). Some people like to isolate their broody but I don't. When she is in the process of actually hatching I mover her and her eggs to an isolated location where we can monitor, but after the chicks have fully hatched and all is well, I put mom and babes back in the coop. Momma WILL protect them. We have never had any problems with the other hens. They usually give Mom her space, cause if they don't, their toast!!!! Beware of MOMMA
big_smile.png

Other than that, let nature take it's course... and enjoy the wonderful experience.
 

Southernbelle

Gone Broody
12 Years
Mar 17, 2008
5,905
21
274
Virginia
I've done it both ways and it just depends on what works for you.

While she's setting, the other hens may lay in her nest, so make sure to mark the eggs you gave her and remove the unmarked eggs daily. Anything other than a Sharpie marker will rub off. (Despite the controversy over using Sharpie, I've never noticed it bleeding to the inner part of the egg, I've checked after it hatches) Some of the other hens may bug her, chase her off her nest or mess with her eggs - especially if she's taken over the favorite nest. If the other hens are gentle and you remove the fresh laid eggs daily - then there's no reason she can't stay where she is.

I prefer to move them to a safe place - it just feels safer to me. If you try to move her while she's setting, it may break her of being broody or she won't recognize the nest you made for her as "her" nest. If you decide to move her, move the whole nest box with her and the eggs in it and put the whole thing in the dog crate. Do it when it's full dark outside and it shouldn't disturb her.

After the chicks hatch, I do like to keep the broody/chicks segregated from the rest of the flock for about 2 weeks. She will defend them from the other birds, but it could be really stressful for her; especially if she's defending them from a lot of other hens or if she has a lot of chicks to defend. You need to put chick starter down for them and the other hens consider chick starter some kind of treat and will gobble it all up. You need to put the chick feeder and waterer low to the ground and the other hens will kick shavings into it and poop in it. The chicks might have a hard time getting in and out of the nest box and a mama hen won't chase after them. When a chick gives the distress call, the mama will cluck back to let the chick know where she is, but she won't go looking for the lost chick at the expense of the other chicks; so it's best to put her in a secure area where the chicks can find her easily. After a few weeks, they can jump high enough to follow the mama hen a little better and the mama will integrate them in with the rest of the flock.

Congrats on your broody! I love broody hens!
 

vkp23

Songster
10 Years
Jul 10, 2009
364
1
119
My house
Well now I'm not sure if the broody thing is gonna stick. About two to three hours ofter I posted she came out of the house. But she went back at bed time, but to "her" nest. I thought I had heard that some broodies will leave the nest for a little break, but IDK. she's still young (born in June) so this would be her first time. I'm worried about leaving the eggs. I don't want them to go bad, and though I've been feeling the itch to hatch again, I'm not ready to. I did notice that a couple of eggs we went to eat that the bulls eye was a lot bigger than it should have been. So I'm wondering if she's going into being broody but not there yet. Like she sat on her egg most of the day than got tired of it, and got off. She did pluck a few of her feathers from her breast and lined her nest with it. IDK what do you guys think?
 

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