Hen didn't like the move

heby

Songster
8 Years
Jan 15, 2013
209
14
136
Georgia
I have a hen that is an excellent faithful layer and will go broody every couple of months it seems. This is already her 3rd time this year.
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The first time she was sitting on one egg so we got 6 fertile ones to put under her since we weren't sure if hers was good or not. Well, she hatched out 4 out of 7, one of those duds being hers. The second time she had been hiding eggs under my house and when I finally found her she was sitting on 19!! During the last week, a rain storm came and water ran all way to where she was and into the hole she had dug and chilled all the eggs. She left them and we lost all. This time we found her in a different place under the house again and decided to remove her. So we waited til dark and took her and 8 eggs and moved them to the place where she raised the first 4 chicks. Well lets just say She didn't like that idea cause the next morning Houdini had escaped the pen and was wondering around. Now she refuses to go back in there to sit. :( So we lost these 8 as well. I'm not looking for more chicks but I don't like losing the eggs either. So after that story, my questions are:

What did I do wrong and What could I have done to ease the transition? She is very peculiar in where she likes to go broody and it is never in a good spot.
 

PSJ

Songster
8 Years
Apr 15, 2011
852
67
181
Sabine Parish, La
When mine go broody, I take them out of the coop and put them in a dog kennel with food and water. They cant really abandon the eggs then. I have one hen that will sit on the eggs for a week or so and then decide shes done. Drives me nuts. She cant do that when I take her away from the rest.
 

sourland

Broody Magician
Premium Feather Member
11 Years
May 3, 2009
117,621
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New Jersey
Hens vary greatly in temperment. Some (rare) you can move anywhere anytime and they will remain broody. Others are far more finicky. It is best to move as you did during the night. Move to an enclosed, small space (think small dog crate) with a well formed nest. Move hen and eggs, cover the crate so that it remains darkened. Let her out the next day into an enclosed area where she can not see her old site, watch her eat, poop and drink and then gently get her back into the crate and close it and darken it again. Do all of this with some and it still won't work. She may be one of these hens. I would pen her up, force her to build a clutch in an area that you choose.
 

heby

Songster
8 Years
Jan 15, 2013
209
14
136
Georgia
We did put her in a small cage. Somehow she got the door opened. She is just like Houdini. If she wants out, she finds a way. haha. I didn't think about keeping it dark. Thank you for your help

I have another question but it's kinda a different subject so I may be sup to put it elsewhere. When my first hen hatched out the 4, I put her in small area and let her raise them for about 4 wks then I separated them. Now I have a game hen sittin on 12 EE eggs. She is very flighty and can be very aggressive when she has chicks around. She attacked my husband when he walked in the pen. I was thinking about letting her raise these chicks up for a little while like I did the first time. (Less work for me
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) But I have been told that if I let her do, the chicks will take on her flighty and skiddish behavior. I would want them to be more friendly and not run away all the time. Any suggestions?? Do I let them stay or take them after they hatch?? Do I need to put this question in a different place?
 

PSJ

Songster
8 Years
Apr 15, 2011
852
67
181
Sabine Parish, La
We did put her in a small cage. Somehow she got the door opened. She is just like Houdini. If she wants out, she finds a way. haha. I didn't think about keeping it dark. Thank you for your help

I have another question but it's kinda a different subject so I may be sup to put it elsewhere. When my first hen hatched out the 4, I put her in small area and let her raise them for about 4 wks then I separated them. Now I have a game hen sittin on 12 EE eggs. She is very flighty and can be very aggressive when she has chicks around. She attacked my husband when he walked in the pen. I was thinking about letting her raise these chicks up for a little while like I did the first time. (Less work for me
wink.png
) But I have been told that if I let her do, the chicks will take on her flighty and skiddish behavior. I would want them to be more friendly and not run away all the time. Any suggestions?? Do I let them stay or take them after they hatch?? Do I need to put this question in a different place?
Your question is just fine here.. lol.
It is all a matter of opinion on that though. Personally, I take the chicks and raise them in the brooder...just because I don't want the other hens to mess with them and I want the broody hen to get back to laying eggs. To each their own though.
 

sourland

Broody Magician
Premium Feather Member
11 Years
May 3, 2009
117,621
329,849
1,957
New Jersey
In my experience, chicks although initially influenced by their mother's temperment revert to that more common to their breed as they mature. It's the old nature vs nurure debate.
 

heby

Songster
8 Years
Jan 15, 2013
209
14
136
Georgia
I am afraid that she will go back around the flock and the other hens and the rooster will pick on the babies. She is also one that doesn't mind going off by herself so I'm afraid of where she may take them. She took off in the woods a few months ago and everyone thought something had got her. I wasn't convinced and kept count of the days. Exactly 21 days later she came back up to the house to eat with 12 babies in tow.
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The only 2 yellow ones were injured so I took them and brought them inside. We put her & remaining 10 in the small pen and the next morning we went out to check on her and 7 were dead. I think she just went spastic cause she was in a small area and squashed them. I took the last ones and added them to the others and they were all happy. She is in a pen by herself now with the next and the first time she realized we had shut the gate and she couldn't get out, she was making circles in there. Lol. I'm afraid of where she may take them. She is a good layer and sitter but hasn't shown good record so far for good mother.
 

Ridgerunner

Crossing the Road
12 Years
Feb 2, 2009
27,070
19,451
857
Southeast Louisiana
Some are better mothers than others. As Sourland said, hens vary greatly in temperament. You are dealing with living animals. No one can tell you what a certain hen will do in any specific circumstance. The best we can do is tell you what we’ve seen or what we think they are maybe likely to do.

I always let the broody raise the chicks with the flock. Usually the other chickens don’t bother the chicks, but occasionally a hen will threaten a chick. My broodies have such a nasty attitude when that happens that the other hen doesn’t stand a chance. I’ve never had a rooster pose a threat. I’ve actually has a few dominant roosters help Mama raise the chicks. But you are dealing with living animals. I’m sure someone somewhere has had a problem with a dominant rooster. And I’m sure someone somewhere has had a broody that would not protect her chicks.

One thing that helps is that I have a lot of room. Sometimes Mama brings the chicks in with the flock but a lot of the time she keeps them sort of off by themselves. It’s very possible your broody would take them into the woods. She will probably feel safer out there. Chickens seem to fear open places and hawks more than closed places and other potential predators. I’d expect her to bring them back to the coop to sleep but during the day they could be out there.

Something I’ve seen a few times. The chicks might be maybe 2 weeks old and a chick leaves Mama’s protection to stand next to the big girls at the feeder. Sometimes the hens ignore the chick, but usually it doesn’t take long for one of the hens to peck the chick, to remind it that it is bad chicken etiquette for it to eat with its social superiors. That chick goes running back to Mama as fast as its little legs can carry it, peeping indignantly and flapping its little wings. Mama ignores all this. But if that hen that pecked it starts to follow to inflict more discipline, Mama gets all outraged and quickly teaches that hen she had a bad idea.

Bad things can happen when a hen hatches eggs or raises chicks with the flock. Bad things can happen when you isolate a broody, when incubating or raising the chicks. There are risks and advantages both ways. One way is not right and another way wrong. It’s just the way we do it in our unique situations and with our unique experiences.

Good luck!
 

heby

Songster
8 Years
Jan 15, 2013
209
14
136
Georgia
Thank you for all your advice.
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I'm very excited and hopeful to have a bunch of EEs soon to add to my flock.
 

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