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Hens nesting in same box. What to do???

Discussion in 'Where am I? Where are you!' started by Cluckminster Fuller, Feb 26, 2014.

  1. Cluckminster Fuller

    Cluckminster Fuller Chirping

    Oct 16, 2010
    I have some game hens that share laying boxes and share sitting on all eggs in them. Sometimes 3 hens are crammed in one box. Has this happened to anyone else?

    In the coldest part of winter, when it was down around zero degrees, they were setting. The 7 eggs had disappeared when I looked under the hens at the appropriate time. No trace of shell. In the past, I had had eggs that didn't fully hatch even though the chicks were developed, but I've never had them disappear. I know a snake could have gotten in, but it was probably too cold for one to be active. Other critters can't get through the chicken wire that encloses the pen and coop. My dogs chase coons and such away, and coons would not be likely to get in at any rate.

    Should I try to separate the hens? Are they keeping each other warmer? I have heat lamps in the coop but it has still gotten below 32 degrees some. They have heated water bowls. I have 3 roosters so the eggs are sometimes fertile, sometimes not. Two hens are sharing a box right now, and if the eggs are fertile they should hatch in about 10 days. The boxes are also off the ground about 3 feet because they were made for laying hens that didn't brood. Should I move them to the ground? It's still getting into the 20s and 30s at night here. I could put hay in a box on the floor and clip a heat lamp near it to help the broody hens. If they'll move.

    I know hens that have successfully hatched chicks 6 feet off the ground. I also know hens who get off the next when the first chick hatches. I'm not sure what to do with them in this cold weather and with chicks who will have 2 mamas! ;-) Ideas??

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