Give up on broody hens?

Mentzer6

In the Brooder
9 Years
Jun 30, 2010
39
0
32
I have about 5 serious brood hens, 2 have been sitting on eggs for 5 weeks now. I know they have been disturbed and eggs have disappeared (think I have an egg eater hen) and to add to the mess they are in the coop with the layers, so they get a fresh supply. Had eggs cracked open in middle of coop, fully developed chick inside but dead. What is going on? I know my standard cochin has broke several of her eggs plopping into her nest like she's doing a belly flop. I try to clean out the broken eggs, but it's still a mess in there. They are getting off the nests to eat, drink, etc. Just tired of being excited and then seeing vanishing eggs. Is it likely they are eating the chicks? One of them I have no clue how long she has been there, but her egg numbers have been the same for the longest and she only had her next stolen by another hen once but I made them trade back. My hens are RIR/SS mixes, a partridge cochin, and a mutt banty, my roos are silkies, so not hatching out gold or anything, but curiosity has the best of me. Should I just throw out the eggs and try to force the
girls to stop?
Sigh. Now shopping for incubators and more fencing to make broody hen pens............
 

emys

Songster
11 Years
Nov 19, 2008
1,416
10
161
Idaho
OK, I have to reply. It isn't the broody's fault. You are describing a chaotic coop scene where no broody could be successful.

Eggs that have reached day 18 need to be sat on steadily to provide constant heat and humidity for hatching. Without that they will die very close to hatch as you describe. If hens are fighting over nests and being kicked off the nests, that can't happen.

Broodies need their own space and they need eggs when they first go broody. So, before you purchase an incubator, do you have a quiet safe spot to put a cardboard box and a newly broody hen with some fresh fertile eggs? Because given peace and quiet and easy access to food and water, nothing beats a broody hen.
 

koakritters

Songster
8 Years
Jan 27, 2011
732
8
131
Petaluma
mine are doing this too... my one was successful and she's got 4 little ones with her, the other 2 are fighting over the same nest (one isn't even laying eggs she just wants them!) and no one's been sitting on it now steadily for a couple days. i'm taking them all out this weekend if nothing changes, making Smaller boxes that 2 hens cannot fit in together, and starting over...
sad. but oh well... can't change anything now!
 

Mentzer6

In the Brooder
9 Years
Jun 30, 2010
39
0
32
Thanks for replying. In all honesty, I wasn't expecting broody hens at all. My RIR crosses aren't a year old yet and the banty and cochin are who knows how old, given to us last year. They really surprised me and I am still learning. How much space do they need? Like I said, I have 5 that are religious about being on the nests and 1 that sits with her sister. The little banty has had the least interruption because she is a biter and as far as I know had only lost her nest once and I fixed it. Would it do her more harm than good to be moved now? She's been on her next a minimum of 2 weeks already, maybe longer. The others, I am not as concerned with as I know they've moved around more and they are calm enough to be moved if needed. I guess I'd better learn candling too and stop trying to be so "let nature take its course". The cochin really wants to hatch, but like I said, she plops into her nest and I cringe, I can just hear eggs cracking! She's a big old girl and I just want her to be happy.
 

HorseFeatherz NV

Eggink Chickens
10 Years
May 12, 2009
6,565
43
251
Sierra Foothills of Reno, NV
Get yourself some small plastic dog kennels. They really make the best broody abode.



Make your broody a comfy nest, at dusk when your coop is just starting to sleep, move the broody's eggs over into the kennel, pull the broody out of the nest box and put her into the kennel, gently, on top of her eggs. She will settle back down, arrange the eggs and go back to sleep. I place food and water in the kennel, and let her out during the day in a section of the run that no other birds have access to. I just pick up the kennel, place it in the outdoor area and open the door - she can come out when she is ready.


For a "new" broody, when I move them into the kennel, I might place a towel or blanket over the kennel to darken it a bit the next day (some will freak when they awaken to a change, most - at least mine - seem to not even notice as long as there are eggs under them



Once the chicks hatch, the kennels make it super easy to move mom and babies to a secure "chick area" and let them outside (I do this right away, as soon as all have hatched, even in winter). I keep the kennel in the chick area so mom can return to it. At bedtime, or bad weather - mom gets back into the kennel with the chicks and you close the door and place back into the coop.
Now some first time broodies need help returning to the kennel the first night or two, but after that they get it and remember.


I currently have 8 broodies with chicks and three more setting on clutches. I use a lot of kennels
 

Mentzer6

In the Brooder
9 Years
Jun 30, 2010
39
0
32
Thank you, that helps! I will be finding some kennels and moving hens this weekend. I had this picture in my head that I had to build additional pens for each broody hen and how much this was going to cost and how long it would take!
 

Mentzer6

In the Brooder
9 Years
Jun 30, 2010
39
0
32
And what happens when you give up???? My little mutt banty hatched out 3 little Silkie crosses the past couple of days!!!!! Planning a brood hen pen for the future but for now, just happy as anything and amazed!
 

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