hatcing my own w/broody hens

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by countrygirl5, Feb 1, 2012.

  1. countrygirl5

    countrygirl5 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 1, 2012
    Eastern IA
    Hi all!

    This is my first time keeping my own hens. I have 12 hens and a rooster. Three of my hens have turned broody and I want them to sit so that I have butchering chickens. But I have a few questions that I can't seem to find the answers for.

    1.) When is the best time to let them sit? We live in NE Iowa.
    2.) Can I leave the chicks in the coop w/the hens once they hatch or will I need to move them out till they're 2 mos. old?
    3.) If I let more than one hen sit and they all have chicks, will they "fight" over their chicks or be okay all together?

    This can't be too hard, people have been letting their hens sit for generations past. But I want to do this the right way for both the hen and her chicks. I have a greenhouse I considered putting the hens in with their own nests while they sit and while the chicks are growing, but will they switch nests and cause fights? Should I just seperate one at a time? Will I need to put a heat lamp in the greenhouse or will the hen keep her chicks warm enough?

    Thanks for all the help.
  2. chicmom

    chicmom Dances with Chickens

    Feb 24, 2009
    Strasburg Ohio
    This can be tricky. If your hens are first time broodies, I've heard the best way to move them on their nests, is when it's dark out.

    You want them to be in a good location so that when the eggs hatch, the chicks will be safe with mama and won't fall down from a nest box. They will also need to have access to food and water. Mama will take them to food and water, but they need to be able to reach it.

    I recently had two hens go broody. (It's winter time here in Ohio.) Anyhow, they did fine brooding together, but as the chicks hatched, one hen only accepted the first four chicks, and I noticed she would peck the others. So I put her back out in the coop with the flock, and just let the silkie hen finish hatching the chicks and raise them. She's doing a great job, although, I do have her in my basement in a brooder with the chicks, since it's winter.

    The green house sounds like an ideal place for your hens to hatch and raise babies! I would put the nesting boxes on the floor, and I would move the hens during the night. It's hard to tell if they will stay on the nests when you move them. I had a broody GLW hen who wouldn't stay on the nest when I moved her. She had a fit!

    This is just my personal experience, so I hope others will come around and share more knowledge with you! Good luck with the broodies!


BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by