1. If this is your first time on BYC, we suggest you start with one of these three options:
    Raising Chickens Chicken Coops Join BYC
    If you're already a member of our community, click here to login & click here to learn what's new!

HELP! - Broody hen in favorite nest

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by mspj, Aug 5, 2014.

  1. mspj

    mspj Out Of The Brooder

    88
    1
    33
    Apr 15, 2013
    Xenia, OH
    I have a Light Brahma that has gone broody! I am very excited as this is my first broody hen, but she has decided to use a favorite nest. I just checked on her this morning and there was another hen in the nest with her laying an egg. I'm sure there will be 6 or 7 eggs added daily, how can I keep the other hens out? HELP! I do not know what to do, I get 6 -10+ eggs from this nest every day.
     
  2. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

    19,945
    3,104
    476
    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    You have a few options. You can isolate the broody, either block off that nest so the others can’t get to her or move the broody to another location. If you do that, she will need her own food, water, and some room to go poop, though you may be cleaning the food or water out. Broody hens know to not go poop in the nest but they don’t know not to go poop in food or water. You’ll have to keep her locked up so she can’t go back to her old nest or she will abandon the eggs and go to her old nest.

    Your other option is to mark the eggs you want her to hatch and check under her every day to remove the unmarked eggs. I use a black Sharpie and make a couple of circles around the eggs, one the short way and one the long, so I can tell at a glance which ones belong. As long as you remove the eggs daily they are good to use. You won’t find any surprises in them. Also, if the number of eggs build up to where the hen cannot cover them all, some will cool off and die, get moved back under her, and others get shoved out, cool off, and die. It’s important that the hen can cover all the eggs.

    It’s important that the eggs all start at the same time. Collect all the eggs you want her to hatch and set those. If they start at different days some will hatch earlier than others and she will abandon the unhatched eggs when the first ones to hatch need to go get food and water.

    There are risks either way. If you isolate her you obviously have to work harder feeding, watering, and cleaning. She may not accept the move and break from being broody. It needs to be someplace predator proof and safe from overheating this time of year. Some other bad things can happen but those can happen whether you isolate her or not.

    If you don’t isolate her you do need to check under her daily. It’s possible she may find another hen on her nest laying when she returns from her daily constitutional, get confused, and go to the wrong nest. I’ve had that happen where the eggs were really cold to the touch but I just put the hen back on them and she hatched 11 out of 11. Still, that is not a good thing to happen. The other bad thing was when a second hen went broody and the two fought over the eggs. That was about the time the eggs started internal pip so the hens could hear the chicks inside the eggs. They destroyed some eggs during that fight.

    I still allow a hen to hatch with the flock. These bad things are fairly rare but they do happen, especially the hen going to the wrong nest. It’s the way people have been keeping chickens for thousands of years and just seems more natural to me, but it comes down to personal preference. There is nothing wrong with isolating a hen either.
     
  3. mspj

    mspj Out Of The Brooder

    88
    1
    33
    Apr 15, 2013
    Xenia, OH
    Thank you for your feedback, I have put together a box to put into a kennel that I have, I'm going to move her into it this evening and leave her in the coop. I am going to lock her in the kennel for a few days to make sure she doesn't abandon them. So you think I could open the kennel after a few days so that she can go in and out?
     
  4. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

    19,945
    3,104
    476
    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    You can try. it might work or it might not. Try it on a day you can be around to fix things if it goes bad. And mark the eggs. If you open it to the other hens, one might start to lay with the broody. You'll need to check daily.
     
  5. mspj

    mspj Out Of The Brooder

    88
    1
    33
    Apr 15, 2013
    Xenia, OH
    Thank you! This is a young hen, one from my New Years Day hatch, so I hope she stays with it.
     
  6. bobbi-j

    bobbi-j Chicken Obsessed

    8,195
    2,164
    421
    Mar 15, 2010
    On the MN prairie.
    I would suggest waiting until it's dark out and move her and the nest with as little commotion as possible. I've had it go both ways when I've moved a broody and her nest. I had one that had been setting for a week in a very unsafe place, so I moved her and when I checked on her in the morning, she was completely flipping out and most of her eggs were broken. I had another that took the move like a trooper and never even flinched. I had one determined one that wanted to be in the favorite nest. Period. I tried moving her 3 times to 3 different nests. Ridgerunner (as always) has great advice. Try moving her, mark the eggs, keep checking under her for extras if the other hens have access to her. Good luck! Looking forward to hearing how it turns out for you!
     
  7. mspj

    mspj Out Of The Brooder

    88
    1
    33
    Apr 15, 2013
    Xenia, OH
    Moved her last night after dark, put her and the eggs in a kennel with a nest box. She protested a little but settled down and stayed on the new nest. My problem today is she has not gotten off the nest to eat or drink, she is locked in the kennel so I would see signs of her being off the nest and there is no broody poo in the kennel. Should I worry?
     
  8. bobbi-j

    bobbi-j Chicken Obsessed

    8,195
    2,164
    421
    Mar 15, 2010
    On the MN prairie.
    I wouldn't worry. You do have food and water available to her where she needs to get off the nest to get to them, right? She does need to move away from the nest now and then - especially so she doesn't get in the habit of pooping in the nest. She will eat and drink when she's ready. Broodies don't expend a lot of energy while nesting and their metabolism slows so they don't need to eat as much. I'd let her be until tomorrow anyway. I always remind myself that chickens have been instinctively hatching eggs for centuries without my help, so I need to trust them to do their job. The only thing I have to do is make sure she has fresh food and water and a place to stretch her legs if she wants.
     
  9. mspj

    mspj Out Of The Brooder

    88
    1
    33
    Apr 15, 2013
    Xenia, OH
    Yes, she has fresh water & food in the kennel and far enough away that she has to get out of the nest to get to it. I will keep an eye on her today, I'm not to worried yet. Thanks for your feedback.
     
  10. mspj

    mspj Out Of The Brooder

    88
    1
    33
    Apr 15, 2013
    Xenia, OH
    Update: She refused to get off the nest while I had the kennel door closed, so I opened the door after 2 days. Now she gets off for about an hour every morning and goes back into the kennel on her own, yeah! We are on day 5 and so far she is doing great.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by