HELP! My Broody Is Not Taking Care of Herself!

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by Barry Natchitoches, Dec 7, 2009.

  1. Barry Natchitoches

    Barry Natchitoches Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 4, 2008
    My eight and a half month old Buff Orpington broody announced Tuesday that she is ready to brood her second batch of chicks. She successfully brooded three chicks three months ago -- was a pretty good mother, in fact, especially given the fact that she did not have a nest mother herself.

    So Wednesday night, my wife and I kidnapped her from her retreat in the henhouse to bring her to the more protective environment in our spare bedroom. She has everything she needs: a warm protected environment, plenty of food and water, a comfy nest, and a bunch of eggs that she and her fellow hen roommates laid in the three days right before the kidnapping.

    We turn the light on for about 14 hours and turn it off for the other 10 hours, which is the same light schedule she had when she lived in the big henhouse. But we've also put a cloth on top of her dog cage, so that the light is muted and not glaring directly on her.

    We've tried to create the ideal brooding environment for her.

    The problem is that she does not seem to be eating, or drinking, or pooping. Her food is chicken starter crumbles, since she does not need extra calcium right now. My wife got to thinking that she might respond better to scrambled eggs, so she scrambled one this afternoon, and yes, the little girl did eat some of that egg. But it was only one egg, and she ate only half of it -- and would not even eat a bite until my wife put the egg right next to her, where she would not have to get off her clutch.

    We still do not know if she has drank a thing, and we KNOW she has not pooped. And best we can ascertain, the only thing she has eaten in three days is about half of a single scrambled egg.

    What can we do to help her?
  2. hinkjc

    hinkjc Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

    Jan 11, 2007
    Does she have room to wander away from the nest to do her poop? They do not like to soil the nest and like to have space to stretch their legs a couple times a day. Can you set up a secured area in the coop with the other chickens? She may be lonely..may be missing's anyone's guess. But if she's not well, it is time to put her back and get her up and moving.
  3. Barry Natchitoches

    Barry Natchitoches Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 4, 2008
    I have the food and water dishes right near her nest. Just a few inches from her nest. I could push them further away, if that would help. The dog cage she is in is 3 feet by 2 feet by 2 feet tall, I think. Maybe a little bigger. It is a big dog's dog cage. There is room to walk around, but I had moved the food and water right in front of her so she would not miss them, and she does not have to do anything other than get out of the nest to partake food and/or water.

    So would it be best to move the food and water further away?
  4. NurseNettie

    NurseNettie Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 13, 2008
    Northern Maine
    Can she come out of the cage, or is the cage her whole environment? If she can't get out of the cage, she won't poop until she can get out of the "nest" to do it- meaning, out of the dog cage.

  5. LesGan

    LesGan Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 24, 2008
    Columbiana, Alabama
    My broodie Buff Orp would not come off of her nest in the chicken house and did not budge for 3 days without food, water or a trip out to poop. I decided that I did not want to loose her to wasting away so I put on a pair of gloves and reached into the nest to pick her up. She hissed and growled and pecked but I lifted her off the nest and put her on the floor. I nudged her out the little chicken door and she went out into the yard for about 20 minutes. She ate, drank and pooped and then went back inside and returned to her nest and eggs. This became a daily ritual and after a few days she no longer complained or pecked at me when I lifted her out. One day she appeared to stay off the nest for an hour or so. It was early spring and I was not sure the eggs had stayed warm enough during her outings, but when hatching time came she hatched 2 of her 3 had been kind of "weepy" earlier so I did not think that one viable. When she goes broodie next spring I will again follow the ritual if she does not get off the nest to take care of herself. Don't know what I would do if she went broodie in the Fall, but she is too busy moulting to do that I think. Love those chickens!!
  6. Barry Natchitoches

    Barry Natchitoches Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 4, 2008
    Well, here's an update:

    My wife went in there to move the food away from her a bit, to encourage her to move about.

    She found that there was wet underneath the nest.

    So she carefully moved the hen off the nest, bringing her to me to hold. Fortunately I had an old shirt on my lap to put her on.

    My wife found that one of her eggs exploded underneath her, and there was dirt and egg shell fragments on several of the surrounding eggs (which my wife has since removed from the nest).

    My wife said she smelled when she removed her from the nest.

    So after my wife cleaned the nest, she came out to clean the hen.

    That's when IT happened -- she let loose THREE DAYS FULL OF POOP right there on my lap, and on the floor when I quickly removed her off of my lap.

    Gag a maggot! A skunk doesn't have ANYTHING on a broody whose held it in for several days!

    Well, after my wife cleaned the hen, she put the chicken back into the nest. She THINKS the remaining eggs are clean, but she put in today's eggs (3 in total) just in case we've lost the eggs to bacteria or something.

    My poor wife got to clean the floor, while I took one of the longest showers of my life.

    What should we do now?

    Please understand, we are new to chickens, and we are trying to do right by our birds.

    Thank you in advance for your advice and insights.
  7. lady and her girls

    lady and her girls Out Of The Brooder

    Oct 19, 2009
    get another cage put her food and water in it. attach it to the other one. most broodys only leave the nest once a day to poop, eat and drink.
  8. DAFox

    DAFox Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 7, 2009
    SW MO in Vernon Co
    I would make some sort of nest box. (I used an opaque storage tote with a large hole cut into one side with great success. You can then lift the lid to observe the hen) Then attach the tote to the open doorway of the dog crate. Put her food and water in the dog crate. This way she has separate areas for nest and food/water/poop.
    My setup was a tote attached to a wire rabbit cage. 8 out of 12 hatched.
  9. flakey chick

    flakey chick Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 3, 2007
    Quote:That did work out great for me. I put a rabbit cage next to the dog crate so she could go back and forth. Always pooh'd in the rabbit cage.
  10. Chickenaddict

    Chickenaddict Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 19, 2008
    East Bethel MN
    Quote:[​IMG] Sorry couldn't help but to laugh when I read she had pooped a broody poop on you (gag)
    What works good for me is to take them off the nest at least twice a day, Get her all fired up until she begins to walk around on her own, set her down in an area she can poop and has access to food and water outside of the nest whether it be a newspaper lined floor or outdoors. Usually what happens is they go to eat and drink then have a big blow out, go back and eat/drink some more, stretch and shake their feathers out then they want to go back in the nest. Some broodies will literally starve themselves sitting on eggs, some get off on their own once a day. Only a few of my hens require me to get them off the nest to do their thing the rest are good about taking care of their self. Good luck with your hen and her hatch [​IMG]

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