help me please.....chicken was setting......now she wont....

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by JANAE, May 8, 2011.

  1. JANAE

    JANAE Out Of The Brooder

    26
    0
    22
    Jul 22, 2009
    OK I think I made a HUGE mistake.....and I dont know what to do.....

    we were right in the middle of placing our new coop and taking the old one apart for spare parts when my 3+ (?) yr old hen decided it was time for her to set...and of course she chooses the coop that we needed the parts from......

    we postponed it as long as we could and today we took her doors off then I moved her and the nest with the eggs in it to the other coop that she could have all to herself......well now she wont go set on the eggs at all and everytime I go in the coop she just puffs herself up and screams at me.....

    am I s.o.l on the fertal eggs and should I just pull them out and let her try all over again...?

    Any help or advise would be great.
    Thanks,
    Janae
     
  2. Barrdwing

    Barrdwing Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oh dear. I know what you're going through: one of our broodies got scared off her nest by a very large egg-eating rat, and now she won't go near her box and is very frustrated. Your hen is telling you that her nice nest has been changed and Change is Bad; it's setting off all of her warning bells because now she thinks she doesn't have a safe place to brood.

    You might be able to salvage the situation--if not the eggs--by putting her back on her nest tonight. In the dark, she's a lot less likely to leave the nest, although she still might do so if she's really frightened by the change in her environment. If she refuses the nest box, then it may be too bright in there, or there may be a draft, or she just may not feel safe. Spending the night on a nest full of eggs might be enough to convince her to stay there. Or not. It may be a few days before she's comfortable enough in her new coop to want to brood, or she may have been shaken out of it completely.

    Generally if she puts herself in the nest box for a couple of nights running, then you can cross your fingers and give her new eggs. Good luck!
     
  3. emys

    emys Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 19, 2008
    Idaho
    Do you have a dark room or basement? Just take all the eggs put them in a large enough cardboard box where it is nice and dark and quiet. then grab your broody hen. Put a towel over her head, carry her to the dark box, pop her in on the eggs and close the box (you can take the towel off before you close the box lid) Walk away from the box.

    Leave her in the dark on the eggs - she will settle in the dark even in mid day. I have done this and it worked for me.
     
  4. emys

    emys Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 19, 2008
    Idaho
    ...then if it works, you can move the box to the new coop tonight.

    I sometimes leave them in that same cardboard box, tilt it on it's side in the desired location and close it each night just before dusk if the hen is still not seeming settled. They just want privacy and a feeling of safety.
     
  5. JANAE

    JANAE Out Of The Brooder

    26
    0
    22
    Jul 22, 2009
    well I covered the other half of the nest box with a dark towel and she is back in there on the nest with a ceramic egg.......I jumped the gun and brought in her other fert eggs and washed them so now I have to wait til tuesday to go to the hardware store and get some more fert eggs......so we will see what happends......I SO hope I can help her make this work.....the whole cirlce of life thing would be so exciting......although hubby is not to thrilled about it.......me.....and my daughters are tickled pink (and yellow)!!!!!
     
  6. emys

    emys Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 19, 2008
    Idaho
    How long had she been sitting on them?? They may be no good for eating.

    On the other hand if they are that new to being sat upon, you may still be able to give them back to her. Washing the bloom off doesn't mean they won't hatch - and refrigeration for a short time won't necessarily kill them...
     
  7. JANAE

    JANAE Out Of The Brooder

    26
    0
    22
    Jul 22, 2009
    she has only been sitting on them since friday.......and I thought washing them was definately not a good thing.......please let me know ASAP cause I have them on top of the fridge and I can put them back under her tonight....that would be WONDERFUL!!!
    Please advise....thanks ladies!!
     
  8. BANTAMWYANDOTTE

    BANTAMWYANDOTTE Chillin' With My Peeps

    530
    10
    121
    Mar 2, 2011
    Kentucky
    THIS IS MY ONLY MY EXPERIENCE. YOUR OUTCOME MAY BE DIFFERENT THAN MINE.


    :(This is not good. I have done the same thing with some game hens. I moved them, during the day, to a new location and they came off of the nest in fear and never returned. Even a game hen, the broodiest hens, wouldn't return. (These hens were free-ranged, not pets who were handled but also not flighty of humans)


    Here is why this happens:

    A broody hen is in a horrible spot for a prey-type animal. She is an easy target and is pretty much glued down for around 23.5 hours a day or more. She is very alert and focused on the job at hand. She spends her day looking for potential danger and watching for threats because she is very flighty of predators during brooding. She is fully aware of her entire surroundings. During this time a hen will not vocalize while on the nest or leave the eggs but one time a day to eat and defecate. She does not want to draw attention. She is going through the strongest instinct that chickens have.In most cases she will not leave her eggs unless she fears for her life. If she is threatened she will fluff her feathers and make growling sound. If that doesn't send the threat away, only as a last resort, she will leave.

    This is the problem. Hens know more about incubation that humans do. They have more experience. She knows that after she leaves them, they will cool off quickly and be ruined if she doesn't return. However if she felt threatened she won't return at all. This is the case for every broody hen I have seen leave her eggs. I have tried every technique with no luck at all. Once they are gone from the nest, they don't go back. Think about the "going broody" process, it is so strong that hens who some hens will do anything to hatch and egg. Most chicken owners can't stop the process even when they remove her for days. These hens didn't leave by choice or fear. Fear is a driving force for a chickens decisions. They are PREY. Once they are frightened of something, they avoid it. Now out of fear, she fears going back broody.

    I breed and raise American Gamefowl. I have 15 years experience with chickens and have had countless broody hens. Most BYC members will tell you that game hens are among the most broody of all breeds (except silkies and cochins). I have seen several hens be moved (only in daylight) or frightened off the nest while brooding leave the nest and never return. Never once have I seen a hen leave her nest out of fear and return. I have, however, lost a broody hen to a dog attacking her right on the nest and directly (within ten minutes) put them in an incubator and hatched 6 out of 11 eggs that way.


    I am sorry I didn't have more hope. I wish that I could have told you something positive. I just wanted you to know my honest opinion. Not that if the other suggestions don't work it may work for you but it didn't for me. I only hope you can appreciate my honesty...


    Sorry again,


    Timothy in KY

    ****For future reference if you need to move a broody hen (only a last resort): move her at night, with the nest's top covered, and carry the nest box with the hen inside to the new location. If you pick her up off them she may leave them in the morning so it is best to leave her alone during this time or have nests that can be removed easily. I have moved several this way and it worked well. Only about four hens in fifteen years have left the nests the next day.
     
  9. emys

    emys Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 19, 2008
    Idaho
    Sorry, she has been sitting for only two days, stick them back under her so she stays happy where she is.

    Then, if you leave them, you might get some to hatch, but, not as many as you would have had you not washed them.

    If it is easy to get eggs again on Tuesday, do that (throw the old ones away at that point). She hasn't lost all that much time she will be fine.
     
    Last edited: May 8, 2011
  10. kano

    kano Chillin' With My Peeps

    313
    2
    123
    Aug 24, 2008
    Santiago de Chile
    Quote:The key of the operation is to keep the chicken in the dark for 24 hours (or more if necessary) when you move her. I always move them and never failed.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by