Hatching with a broody within a flock

PipPop

Hatching
5 Years
Apr 17, 2014
2
0
7
I'm ten days into hatching under my broody hen. She's very dedicated and I was wondering if I should leave her within the flock to hatch?

I have six other girls and a cockerel.

And should I put chick crumb down for the whole flock?
Also I wanted to clean out the house and move the run before they hatch, if I put her in a box for the day would it upset her and break the broodiness?

I'm new to hatching so any advice will be welcomed! X
 

azelgin

Songster
12 Years
Jan 18, 2008
1,277
50
193
S.E. AZ
I'm ten days into hatching under my broody hen. She's very dedicated and I was wondering if I should leave her within the flock to hatch?

I have six other girls and a cockerel.

And should I put chick crumb down for the whole flock?
Also I wanted to clean out the house and move the run before they hatch, if I put her in a box for the day would it upset her and break the broodiness?

I'm new to hatching so any advice will be welcomed! X
First, I'd be prepared to make provisions to separate her after the hatch, should there be a problem with the other hens trying to harm the new chicks. It probably will be ok, but there are so many post on here "My other hens are fighting with my broody hen, what do I do now?", that its a good idea to be prepared.
If she's been setting for 10 days, I don't think putting her in a box for a few hours will end her broodiness. I wouldn't put the eggs in with her, as she will most likely break them, struggling to get out and go back to her nest. It would be best to leave her in the nest and just work around her. She won't like the activity, but is not likely to get up and leave.
 
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Lady of McCamley

Crowing
9 Years
Mar 19, 2011
7,060
4,761
472
NW Oregon
I'm ten days into hatching under my broody hen. She's very dedicated and I was wondering if I should leave her within the flock to hatch?

I have six other girls and a cockerel.

And should I put chick crumb down for the whole flock?
Also I wanted to clean out the house and move the run before they hatch, if I put her in a box for the day would it upset her and break the broodiness?

I'm new to hatching so any advice will be welcomed! X
It's best to leave a broody be if you can, and place a divider around her so that she cannot be disturbed. I've had other hens continue to try to lay in the nest box, and the incubating eggs can get kicked out. Likewise for the first week or so of chicks hatching. How soon to integrate depends upon your broody hen and flock chemistry. Many broody hens tend to their babies well in the middle of the flock; others not so well. It often depends on the pecking order the hen originally had as to how well she will do in the flock with her babies. Be prepared to intervene if any aggression or stress is seen towards or from the broody and chicks.

For a first time broody, or any broody unless the utmost dedicated, I would be hesitant to move her for a day into a box and then try to transition her back. Silkies would likely make the transition, and I have had to do that in an emergency...they are a rock.... but some hens just fight the change and it can make them very temperamental and unsettled for days afterwards. You may upset her a lot so that she may not settle well again...or she might...but it is a risk.

I am assuming your plan would be to put the eggs in the incubator...which if you are good at incubating and have it up and going, that is doable...but again you have a risk as you are handling the fertile growing eggs...I prefer to handle them as little as possible to avoid risking shifting the egg or temp to much. But I'm not good at artificial incubation and have poor quality ones.

As to food, if you want all the flock to eat from the same bin, use Flock Raiser crumble. The chick feed is a bit high in protein and vitamins for the larger birds, and the laying feed has too much calcium for the baby chicks and thus can cause harm. You will need to provide calcite grit or oyster shell for your layers. You could have all the birds on chick feed for a time if you wanted the medicated, but be aware you are then medicating your whole flock. While not "kosher," many of us have eaten eggs from hens that have eaten Amprolium with no ill effect (Amrpolium is the medication for Coccidiosis in medicated chick starter), so that is another consideration.

There is an excellent Broody Hen thread here with many experienced brooders. I can recommend it for reading and posting.
https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/496101/broody-hen-thread/3980#post_13294437

Good luck with the hatch.
Lady of McCamley
 

PipPop

Hatching
5 Years
Apr 17, 2014
2
0
7
Thank you so much for your advice and suggestions. I have separated her into a small enclosure in a stable for the remainder until the hatch. She is very settled in her new place and not being hassled by the others.

As much as I'd have liked to keep her in the flock, I think she is quite low down in the pecking list so unsure how the situation would have unfolded. Ill reintegrate her with her new brood after a week or two all being well! They haven't hatched yet!?

Thanks again
 
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