Help! Broody hen hatching chicks, need some pointers

LulaBell

Songster
Jul 22, 2018
278
455
162
Southeast Ohio
I have broody hens sitting on eggs that have started to hatch. Do I take the babies and put them in a brooder as they hatch? The momma's do not want to come off the nest so moving them isn't my first choice right now.The nests are in the coop with the other adult birds so I do not want to leave the babies run free in there. Plus the boxes are up off the floor, if they fall out of the nest they will be unable to get back in with mom. What is my best course of action??
 

Ruthster55

Crowing
7 Years
Nov 23, 2013
1,063
1,954
391
Northern South America
Have a cage with food and water at the ready. It's best if you hang the cage to the side of a barn or the side of the coop or somewhere that is protected from the rain.

Let mom set and hatch all the eggs that will hatch. This may take up to 36 hours or so.

If mom is a really good broody, she will stay with the chicks and you can maybe leave them alone, if your coop and run are completely safe from predators and bad weather. However, this doesn't always work out...


If mom gets down off the nest prematurely, you will need to sprint into action. You may hear loud peeping from the abandoned chicks.

Catch mom and put her in the cage. She will be really angry, of course. Then run, and catch all the chicks, including any that she left in the nest, and put them in with mom! Mom will be happy again!!

Picture isn't great, but it shows our fourth broody with her chicks in a cage. She flew down with two chicks and left two up in the nest plus a pipped egg that didn't make it. I caught all the chicks and put them with her in the cage. Broody hens aren't always totally successful, but they save a great deal on the electricity costs associated with running and incubator and then a brooder.

Our fifth broody is really dedicated and is still on the nest after hatching a few chicks early this morning. I gave them little bits of well-cooked scrambled egg and she clucked to her babies and ate a bit herself.

You probably will want to check on your broody hen every few hours during daylight just to make sure she hasn't flown down from the nest and abandoned any chicks.
 

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LulaBell

Songster
Jul 22, 2018
278
455
162
Southeast Ohio
Have a cage with food and water at the ready. It's best if you hang the cage to the side of a barn or the side of the coop or somewhere that is protected from the rain.

Let mom set and hatch all the eggs that will hatch. This may take up to 36 hours or so.

If mom is a really good broody, she will stay with the chicks and you can maybe leave them alone, if your coop and run are completely safe from predators and bad weather. However, this doesn't always work out...


If mom gets down off the nest prematurely, you will need to sprint into action. You may hear loud peeping from the abandoned chicks.

Catch mom and put her in the cage. She will be really angry, of course. Then run, and catch all the chicks, including any that she left in the nest, and put them in with mom! Mom will be happy again!!

Picture isn't great, but it shows our fourth broody with her chicks in a cage. She flew down with two chicks and left two up in the nest plus a pipped egg. I caught all the chicks and put them with her in the cage. Broody hens aren't always totally successful, but they save a great deal on the electricity costs associated with running and incubator and then a brooder.
I was able to relocate momma #1 and her nest to our garage. She will be safe there to hatch her babies. As others hatch in the coop I plan to put the babies with her in the garage. Is that ok to do?

I’m utilizing a little pool for right now. In the coming days we plan to convert this room to a brooder for them
 

LulaBell

Songster
Jul 22, 2018
278
455
162
Southeast Ohio
Have a cage with food and water at the ready. It's best if you hang the cage to the side of a barn or the side of the coop or somewhere that is protected from the rain.

Let mom set and hatch all the eggs that will hatch. This may take up to 36 hours or so.

If mom is a really good broody, she will stay with the chicks and you can maybe leave them alone, if your coop and run are completely safe from predators and bad weather. However, this doesn't always work out...


If mom gets down off the nest prematurely, you will need to sprint into action. You may hear loud peeping from the abandoned chicks.

Catch mom and put her in the cage. She will be really angry, of course. Then run, and catch all the chicks, including any that she left in the nest, and put them in with mom! Mom will be happy again!!

Picture isn't great, but it shows our fourth broody with her chicks in a cage. She flew down with two chicks and left two up in the nest plus a pipped egg. I caught all the chicks and put them with her in the cage. Broody hens aren't always totally successful, but they save a great deal on the electricity costs associated with running and incubator and then a brooder.
E2516141-BD34-4F76-A87A-1A4849FF5EDD.jpeg
4B589B5A-5AF8-465C-A831-149AFC0D8A8C.jpeg
C7DB72E4-D4F2-4668-8E93-62DE55040B17.jpeg
 

Ruthster55

Crowing
7 Years
Nov 23, 2013
1,063
1,954
391
Northern South America
I was able to relocate momma #1 and her nest to our garage. She will be safe there to hatch her babies. As others hatch in the coop I plan to put the babies with her in the garage. Is that ok to do?

I’m utilizing a little pool for right now. In the coming days we plan to convert this room to a brooder for them

You would be better off keeping each broody hen with the chicks that she hatched, rather than mixing them together. Broody hens are very protective and will be happiest raising their own chicks. They may reject or even kill chicks they don't recognize as their own.

It is true that you can slip purchased chicks, at night, under a broody hen who has been setting on perhaps non-fertile eggs for a while. This isn't your situation, though. Once the broody hen has hatched her chicks it is difficult to try to give her anything but her own chicks.

I realize this may imply the need to purchase or make some additional cages if you have multiple broody hens.

Rather than setting up a brooder like you would for incubator or shipped chicks, if you let the broody hen raise her own chicks herself, there are two benefits:

1. You will save a lot on electricity costs.
2. Chicks that are raised by a broody hen are more likely to go broody themselves in the future.
 

LulaBell

Songster
Jul 22, 2018
278
455
162
Southeast Ohio
You would be better off keeping each broody hen with the chicks that she hatched, rather than mixing them together. Broody hens are very protective and will be happiest raising their own chicks. They may reject or even kill chicks they don't recognize as their own.

It is true that you can slip purchased chicks, at night, under a broody hen who has been setting on perhaps non-fertile eggs for a while. This isn't your situation, though. Once the broody hen has hatched her chicks it is difficult to try to give her anything but her own chicks.

I realize this may imply the need to purchase or make some additional cages if you have multiple broody hens.

Rather than setting up a brooder like you would for incubator or shipped chicks, if you let the broody hen raise her own chicks herself, there are two benefits:

1. You will save a lot on electricity costs.
2. Chicks that are raised by a broody hen are more likely to go broody themselves in the future.
That makes sense. We can go ahead and make the garage room a space for that. Will all the broody mommas be ok in a room like that? As long as they are sitting on their own chicks? I have about 7 hens total sitting on eggs 😳😬
 

Ruthster55

Crowing
7 Years
Nov 23, 2013
1,063
1,954
391
Northern South America
Is your garage room well-lit, preferably with daylight?

You do not need any additional heat, because the hen provides all that is needed. For that reason, I just keep broody hens outside in the chicken yard, usually caged (in an area protected from weather) with their own chicks.

Since they're in raised cages above the chicken yard, there is very little cleanup necessary. Just food and water. Broody hens can be fierce if you go into their cage or area too much. I usually just drop feed and water in from outside the cage!

It might be a little intimidating and new at first, but actually working with broody hens is a lot easier than caring for chicks in a brooder. I call brooder or incubator chicks "motherless chicks." :jumpy

P.S. Congratulations on all those broody hens!! May they bring you lots of chicks!! :wee
 
Last edited:

LulaBell

Songster
Jul 22, 2018
278
455
162
Southeast Ohio
Is your garage room well-lit, preferably with daylight?

You do not need any additional heat, because the hen provides all that is needed. For that reason, I just keep broody hens outside in the chicken yard, usually caged (in an area protected from weather) with their own chicks.

Since they're in raised cages above the chicken yard, there is very little cleanup necessary. Just food and water. Broody hens can be fierce if you go into their cage or area too much. I usually just drop feed and water in from outside the cage!

It might be a little intimidating and new at first, but actually working with broody hens is a lot easier than caring for chicks in a brooder. I call brooder or incubator chicks "motherless chicks." :jumpy

P.S. Congratulations on all those broody hens!! May they bring you lots of chicks!! :wee
Thank you!
 

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