Laying Hens Take Turns to Relieve Broody Hen??

Farmin Armen

Chirping
Jun 23, 2021
56
123
88
Hi Everyone - Farmin' Armen here!

This afternoon, I was outside with my kiddo tending to the hens when we saw a broody jump off to get a drink/or stretch their legs... another non-broody came into the nesting box, looked at the eggs, and nested on top of them. It was almost as if to keep the eggs warm while broody was taking a break. Later I come to find that broody is back in the nesting box, nesting. So, do other members of the flock naturally pitch in to help? Or was this a curious hen and later kicked off?

FYI, I'm going to separate broody from the flock tonight.
 

Farmin Armen

Chirping
Jun 23, 2021
56
123
88
Chickens like to lay eggs in nests that already have eggs in them so it's most likely that she was just there to lay her egg. The broody hen may have kicked her out or she may have laid her egg and then vacated the nest so you should check to see if there are any extra eggs in the nest that shouldn't be there.
I'm laughing at myself because I marked the fertilized eggs with smiley faces just like this one --> :D . So, it'll be easy for me to find out if the other Hen (call her Eleonora) just walked in to lay. But, I forgot to mention that I noticed Eleonora tuck in the other eggs as she sat down to nest. Either way, I'm fascinated.

JubileeFarmer, thank you for your reply!
 

JubileeFarmer

Chirping
Apr 15, 2021
99
303
91
Mid Willamette Valley (Oregon)
I'm laughing at myself because I marked the fertilized eggs with smiley faces just like this one --> :D . So, it'll be easy for me to find out if the other Hen (call her Eleonora) just walked in to lay. But, I forgot to mention that I noticed Eleonora tuck in the other eggs as she sat down to nest. Either way, I'm fascinated.

JubileeFarmer, thank you for your reply!
I hatched out 6 eggs under a broody a couple of months ago. On hatching day one of the other hens, Marigold, who had been regularly laying in the broody's nesting box, was sitting in the box with the broody. When I picked Marigold up to move her to another nest box there was a little wet newly hatched chick under her who promptly started crawling under the broody. When I put Marigold down she immediately jumped back into the nest with the broody and a second attempt had the same result. I grabbed some ceramic eggs from the storage room and put them in another nest and put Marigold on them. She tucked them underneath and then stuck her head under her chest and started talking to the fake eggs. I thought it was interesting behaviour considering that she was never broody.
 

Farmin Armen

Chirping
Jun 23, 2021
56
123
88
I hatched out 6 eggs under a broody a couple of months ago. On hatching day one of the other hens, Marigold, who had been regularly laying in the broody's nesting box, was sitting in the box with the broody. When I picked Marigold up to move her to another nest box there was a little wet newly hatched chick under her who promptly started crawling under the broody. When I put Marigold down she immediately jumped back into the nest with the broody and a second attempt had the same result. I grabbed some ceramic eggs from the storage room and put them in another nest and put Marigold on them. She tucked them underneath and then stuck her head under her chest and started talking to the fake eggs. I thought it was interesting behaviour considering that she was never broody.
OK - I love that Marigold was talking to the eggs. At what point did you remove the ceramic eggs?

Also, I did the same thing after your post. Worked liked a charm. However, Eleonora is now on her roost. I'm sure she had a fear of missing out so she too started doing what "everyone else was doing", but then soon realized she had better things to do and clucked away with Snow Honey and Big Bertha.
 

JubileeFarmer

Chirping
Apr 15, 2021
99
303
91
Mid Willamette Valley (Oregon)
OK - I love that Marigold was talking to the eggs. At what point did you remove the ceramic eggs?

Also, I did the same thing after your post. Worked liked a charm. However, Eleonora is now on her roost. I'm sure she had a fear of missing out so she too started doing what "everyone else was doing", but then soon realized she had better things to do and clucked away with Snow Honey and Big Bertha.
Marigold wasn't broody so she didn't stay on the eggs very long after she realized they weren't making noises like the ones in the other nest. The next time I checked on her she was back out in the run with the other chickens so I removed the fake eggs then.
 

Farmin Armen

Chirping
Jun 23, 2021
56
123
88
I wanted to follow up on broody Brenda! The chicks are hatching today. We haven’t been this excited since my wife went into labor at the local diner! Here’s a picture of one of the new hatches.

I already have a brooder set up with week old chicks from Murray McMurray. What are your thoughts on me taking Brenda’s chicks and placing them in the brooder with the rest?
 

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