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Hen keeps leaving eggs

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by TXChickMama, Apr 30, 2017.

  1. TXChickMama

    TXChickMama Out Of The Brooder

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    Dec 29, 2015
    Hockley, TX
    Hi, I have my first broody hen, a Dominique, and she's still young. She only started laying a couple months ago. Last weekend she started staying in the nesting box, sitting on eggs. We left her alone, but she was switching boxes and laying on different eggs each time we checked her. Thursday we took out all the eggs and started over. We put 3 fresh eggs under her Friday and took away the other eggs laid in other boxes immediately so she wouldn't be tempted to sit on those. Saturday we gave her 3 more and took away any other eggs laid that day. Saturday night we moved her into a small pre-fab coop we use for quarantine. She took the move well and settled back on the eggs, still half asleep. She was settled in nicely on the eggs all morning. I gave her food and water right next to her nest so she doesn't have to go far to eat and drink. This afternoon around 2:30 she left the nest and went down to the enclosed outdoor part and was pacing back and forth looking at the rest of the flock. I put her back in the house/nest area and shut the door to keep her in. She drank, jumped on the roost, then saw the eggs and settled back onto the eggs. Should I not have her private coop next to the other chickens? Will she get distracted and stop sitting on the eggs? Can I keep the door closed, forcing her to stay inside with the eggs? I feel like she needs light and air, but if she's getting distracted and it keeps her off the eggs, I guess I need to shut the door. Not sure what to do. I left her in there for now with the door only open about 3/4 inch. Maybe she's just not ready to do this... Advice?

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  2. bobbi-j

    bobbi-j Chicken Obsessed

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    Mar 15, 2010
    On the MN prairie.
    I would put the food and water where she has to get off the nest to get to them. It's natural for them to get off the nest for 15-20 minutes (mine are off longer if it's hot out) to eat, drink, dust bathe and poop. By having food and water too close, you may be encouraging her to poop in the nest. You don't want that.

    Maybe you should take the eggs and replace with ceramic eggs or golf balls for a few days to see how committed she is. Leave the door open to the run and let her figure it out. Or, just leave the eggs she's on and see what happens. The worst that could happen is she abandons them and you're out 6 eggs. Then you try again next time.

    As far as moving her, that was probably a good idea since she was getting confused and going on the wrong nests.
     
  3. TXChickMama

    TXChickMama Out Of The Brooder

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    Dec 29, 2015
    Hockley, TX
    OK. Thank you. I thought having the food and water nearby would be handy for her, but I didn't know she can go 15-20 min off the nest. I think I might leave the water inside so it stays cooler though.
     
  4. bobbi-j

    bobbi-j Chicken Obsessed

    8,195
    2,164
    421
    Mar 15, 2010
    On the MN prairie.
    I just noticed that you're from Texas. If it's hot there, you will want to be sure that coop has plenty of ventilation. She may not want to stay in there if it gets too hot and stuffy.
     
  5. TXChickMama

    TXChickMama Out Of The Brooder

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    Dec 29, 2015
    Hockley, TX
    Yes, I think I am going to get a fan for her.
     
  6. BIggoMamma

    BIggoMamma Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 6, 2017
    I had one that did the exact same thing. I just gave up. Then after she forgot about it, I read that they like a dark undistracted spot, and if they do this sew or duct tape a thin veil like cloth or thin lace cloth that is black over the nesting box she is in for privacy and dark and they will stay. I did not try this, like I said she finally gave up.
     
  7. TXChickMama

    TXChickMama Out Of The Brooder

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    Dec 29, 2015
    Hockley, TX
    She now has a patio umbrella over her coop for shade and a small fan inside the coop part to circulate air. :)
     
  8. TXChickMama

    TXChickMama Out Of The Brooder

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    Dec 29, 2015
    Hockley, TX
    It is pretty dark in the little house/coop part and she can't see the other chickens when she's in there. I'm sure she can hear them out there though. Her mini coop is right up against the big coop/run we built, so she can see them if she exits her mini coop and goes into the small enclosure to eat or poop. She seemed to do well again this afternoon and evening, so I guess she was just out for a break. My brother-in-law said he would keep an eye on her tomorrow and make sure she goes back in if she's out taking a break. *Fingers crossed*
     

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