Free Range Broody sitting on nest of infertile eggs outdoors. Advise

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by Lakeside Acres, Aug 3, 2013.

  1. Lakeside Acres

    Lakeside Acres Hatching

    Jun 14, 2012
    Bonfield, Ontario, Canada
    I have a Red Sex Link hen who has recently gone broody but is sitting on eggs that are not fertile outdoors. Its Been at least 10 days since i noticed her not in the coop at night time lock up. I originally thought I must have lost my first chicken to a predator. but after i sold the rest of my red sex links last weekend she had shown up to eat when i was feeding the other chickens. It took me a few days to find her nest and now I am wondering if its worth trying to switch some eggs with fertile ones when she has been already on them so long, as well i am not sure how many eggs are there but it seems there are so many she is not on them all. It is also not a great place to hatch chicks where her nest is she is in a part of my garden that is not used this year and overgrown with weeds and while she is very hidden we have every kind of predator around. Any advise on what to do with her would be appreciated.
  2. sbrown

    sbrown Chirping

    Feb 3, 2013
    Had the same thing happen to me last year. Hen had already been sitting for almost 2 weeks probably. I replaced her 3 eggs with about 16 that was given to me. She went right back to sitting on them and hatched them. I've yet to have a hen go broody in the coop . They always like thos high grass areas. I'd give her some eggs and let her hatch them then catch them all and put somwhere you don't have to worry about predators getting the chicks.
  3. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Free Ranging

    Feb 2, 2009
    Southeast Louisiana
    Some people are more prone to take risks than others. There are many stories on here where a hen has hidden a nest and hatched chicks out where predators are abundant, yet there are also stories where a broody hen like that was taken by a predator. Yours has already made it 10 days but I can’t tell you what will happen tonight.

    As far as her hatching the eggs, you can get fertile eggs and put them under her. She should hatch them. You are dealing with living animals so there are no guarantees, but most broodies will stay on a nest much longer than 5 weeks. I would not let that stop me from giving her fertile eggs.

    The decision is whether to move her or not. Your risk in moving her is that she might not accept the new nest and break from being broody. If you do decide to move her, I suggest preparing a predator proof place where you can lock her into it and she can’t get out and return to the old nest. All you need is a nest, room to feed and water, and enough room for her to go poop without fouling her nest or the food and water. Make the nest as dark as you reasonably can. That seems to help them accept the new nest. Maybe they think it is well hidden.

    Then after it is really dark, move her and her infertile eggs to the new nest using as little light and commotion as possible. I’d even lock her inside that new nest for most of the next day. A broody normally goes a long time without eating and drinking so this is not really cruel, but make sure you are not creating an oven where she will cook. Then late that afternoon let her out to eat, drink, and poop but make sure she cannot return to the old nest.

    Once she has accepted the new nest, switch out the infertile eggs with fertile eggs.

    Another option if you can manage it is to build something like this and set it over her current nest. A lot of times that is easier said than done. Make sure that it is not an oven. Too much heat is dangerous.

    It’s just amazing to watch a broody raise her chicks. Good luck!

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