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If a hen goes broody

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Hooshie, Jan 14, 2016.

  1. Hooshie

    Hooshie In the Brooder

    Jan 13, 2016
    St. Louis County, MO
    If a hen goes broody inside a raised (4+ ft above the ground) nesting box and hatches the eggs, will she be able to get her chicks down to the ground? Or will I have to assist?

  2. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Free Ranging

    Nov 23, 2010
    St. Louis, MO
    Hi I'm a neighbor.
    The chicks will jump out but they won't be able to jump back into the nest. You need a lower nest.
    Probably 18" is as high as a chick is able to jump back in.
  3. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Free Ranging

    Feb 2, 2009
    Southeast Louisiana
    I’ve seen a hen get chicks out of a ten feet high hay loft. She flew to the ground and said jump, they did, then bounced up and ran to her. You can help if you wish but my broody hens know when the hatch is over much better than I do. My highest nests are only about 3 feet off the coop floor but I don’t worry about her being able to get the chicks down at all.

    One warning. I saw several posts on here about chicks falling out of the nest after hatch before the broody brought them off. I did not understand that at all until it happened to me. Baby chicks that hatch early often like to crawl up on Mama’s back. If she is sitting too close to the edge they may miss the nest when they fall off. I let a hen hatch in a cat litter bucket, about 7-1/2” wide. That nest was about 3 feet off the coop floor. I had to pick several chicks up off of the floor. That nest was just too narrow so it has been retired.

    I don’t know what your nest looks like. Most will be OK, especially if it is enclosed and she sets toward the back. At four feet high the size and shape of the nest is the only thing I’d worry about.

    When my hens bring their chicks off the nest, they do not go back to those nests. They normally take them to a corner of the coop to sleep on the floor. I’m sure others have had different experiences but mine just don’t take them back to the nest they hatched in, even if it is pretty low to the floor.
  4. Hooshie

    Hooshie In the Brooder

    Jan 13, 2016
    St. Louis County, MO
    My nesting box is made out of a tipped over cabinet so the doors are the roof and we cut an opening in the bottom of the cabinet which acts as the entrance.

    We also have the deep litter system inside the coop so there's at least 1ft of fluffed up straw for the chicks to land on.

    Thank you both ChickenCanoe and Ridgerunner for your input!
  5. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    I made a portable floor nest......
    ....but my broody hatched in frigid winter temps(won't do that again) and they needed to have absolute access.


  6. JanetMarie

    JanetMarie Crowing

    Oct 23, 2014
    I move my broodies and their new hatched chicks to a nest on the floor, the same day they hatch, or the day before. I have had chicks fall to the floor once dried off, and they can't get back to the nest, and the mom won't leave the nest if all the eggs are not hatched. The floor nest is a pet carrier with the door removed.

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