Hen on one egg - Advice?


10 Years
Mar 3, 2013
Chino Valley, AZ.
My 7-month old hen has been setting on her one egg for 10 days now. I am so torn between leaving her alone where she is at in the coop or separating her. Unless I plan to be gone for the whole day, all doors are opened in the morning, to both the yard and a large run. I have what can only call a 'coop within a coop'. Just for extra security and because the 'inside' coop will be easier to keep warm. Of course, 6 of them insist on sleeping on the top of it. That will be a different ballgame come winter. My Bar Cochin has opted to set on the floor along one side. It's dirt with deep straw. I could (probably easily) pen her in there, but I'm not sure if I should. For one thing, it would involve some hammering and I'm reluctant to stress her out. I am wondering about the percentages of the little one getting hurt if I just leave them with the flock. There is also the problem of the chick being unable to get out of the coop since exits and entrances have raised partitions (about a foot high) that require jumping over. How long will it be before she takes the chick out? And if I build a ramp, will the chick be able to get out or will the hen just leave it in there? I'm sorry I did not take her egg away now. I think of a new obstacle everyday! Any and all advice appreciated. Outer coop structure is 14' x 14' floor space with one wall mostly wire for light.
Is the egg fertile? Did you candle it yet?
If fertile and all goes well she'll protect it from the other birds.
I do like them to have their own space for feed and water purposes but they don't need it.
I would put some blocks or something to make a type of stairs for the chick's access. They can jump quite high at an early age.
Don't worry about warmth. The hen will provide plenty of heat.
Thanks Canoe! I can build some build some little steps. Kind of worried about it falling off, tho. I do have a Sicilian Buttercup that was flying around insanely high at a few days old. Hence the name, The Flyin' Wop! (I'm Italian, I think I can say that.) I haven't candled it yet. Heard to try it at about 10 days and haven't seen her off the nest today. She doesn't peck me when I pet her, but she sure does growl when I do or if the others come too close. Wouldn't she abandon it if it wasn't fertile by now? I feed Flock feeder. I would assume I should also do chick starter. I'm ok with the rest of them getting into it. They don't eat much 'store bought feed' due to the fact that they have access to 3 acres, a garden and a couple compost piles. Not to mention I give them all kinds of treats from the kitchen. Two of them will fight you to get into the house. They all would if the rest weren't too fat to fly over the 'courtyard' wall that surrounds the front yard. And no, they're not spoiled. I often feel like the Pied Piper. Ha.
They won't abandon the egg, they'll even sit with no egg at all under them. I have 2 brooding an empty nest right now.

Healthy chicks are rough and tumble. A foot isn't much of a jump for a chick. I just make some steps for the first couple days to make it easier so they know what's on the other side and that they want to go there.

I have 2 chicks with a broody in her own apartment with a door that's well over 2 feet off the ground. The hen waited about 10 or 12 days to coax them out. They're now jumping/flying in and out without the ramp.
I still have not candled her egg! I'm older and have been going through some testing this week. I've been in and out and have not caught her off her nest. I just don't have the heart to disrupt her! Thank you for your input. Was a little bit on the 'pity pot' this morning and what you said about your hen and chicks apartment made me burst into hysterical laughter. I insanely pictured a tiny furnished apartment. You don't know how much stress you have released! I'm still grinning. I'm building a little set of steps today. Actually two. I have a door to the run and one to the outside. It would be nice to be able to close the outside door and keep Mama and baby somewhat enclosed, but 5 of my hens lay in nesting boxes in there (two lay in baskets on my porch and are incredibly territorial about their baskets; one of them throws an absolute fit if another hen lays in hers and I have actually seen her try to throw another's egg out!) and I can't lock them out.

Well, they certainly have distinct personalities. I am now hoping the egg is fertile and that I have the chance to make it as friendly as the others. And I sincerely hope for another girl! I have two roosters (so far, they are buddies and as different as night and day), but a whole other story. Hope you have a wonderful day. I'm sure I'll be bombarding this thread with more questions down the road. To Grandparenting...

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