Premium Feather Member
What I do is wait for 24 hours after the first one hatches (because when the eggs are all set at the same time, usually all the eggs that are going to hatch will do so in that time), then move hen, chicks and any unhatched eggs to a nest on the floor. I never move a nest when the eggs are still in the process of hatching because I don’t want to bother the broody. The chicks stay pretty close to mama the first day or so anyway, and it won’t hurt them to wait a day or so for food and water.
In your case, it might be OK to move hen, chicks and eggs to the floor before then. There is a chance you may not get any chicks, or that the ones who hatch have developed poorly and will be unhealthy. When a hen has a large clutch, she can’t cover them all properly so some may never develop, some may develop with deformities, and some may develop without any problems. You just never know.
A dim flash light or headlight(so you have both hands free) will be less disturbing and they are more likely to stay on the roost than if you light up the whole coop.
Red light may be less distressing to them....I can't see very well with it tho.How about a red light? I have a red setting on my LED headlamp. Will it bother them more if they can't see me at all, or do they see the red light?
Okay, just duckducked the answer. They don't see red LEDs at all, apparently, so that'll be my go-to.
I put a 2x2 across the front, about a half inch off the bottom of the box. It's only a 2-inch barrier with the gap, so I expect chicks will have little difficulty scrambling over it. I could put a second 2x2 1/2" above the first, if a 4-inch barrier would be better. I'm pretty sure the hens won't have any trouble getting into the box with that height. Think that would be better, or will it make it harder for the chicks to get out when the hen is ready to leave the nest with them?
Bummer.......glad she went back to the roost.The hen finally abandoned the nest. Three eggs started hatching overall. None got very far, and all died. I finally took all the eggs and tossed them. As of last night, the hen was back on the roost with the flock.
I don't plan to let anyone try to hatch anything again before spring.
Thanks to all for your help!