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Lots of hens in one nest

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by ruthiesue, May 3, 2009.

  1. ruthiesue

    ruthiesue In the Brooder

    Jul 31, 2008
    Our hens like to all cram into the same nest while setting on their eggs. What about that? Usually there are two, but sometimes I've seen three in the nest. Do everyone's do this?
    Then what happens when the eggs begin to hatch? Will things go south? There are more than enough nests, but these gals just like to snuggle.

  2. Mahonri

    Mahonri Urban Desert Chicken Enthusiast Premium Member

    May 14, 2008
    North Phoenix
    My Coop
    Use smaller nests.
  3. gritsar

    gritsar Cows, Chooks & Impys - OH MY!

    Nov 9, 2007
    SW Arkansas
    I think the record on this farm is four hens in one nest box at a time.
    If you do have a hen go broody and decide to set, she and her nest should be removed to a safe quiet place where she can't be disturbed by her sisters while nesting. This is assuming that she's sitting on fertile eggs and you want her to hatch them.
    Last edited: May 3, 2009

    FLOWERPOT Songster

    Mar 13, 2008
    Southern Indiana
    Aint Broodys funny!
    I have a Turkey hen, A muscovy duck and a Bantam Cochin all sharing the same nest right now! They have plent of other places to go, but I guess that is the prime spot. LOL
    From some people I have talked to about the same thing... Sometimes the chickens will fight over the babys and the babys will get hurt.Thats what I am worried about, so as soon as they hatch I plan to take them and put them in a brooder inside.
    If I clean the nest after all have hatched, I hope the hens will leave it alone, If not then I will have to try the broken egg shell thing..
    I wish I could help you more but I am going thru it right now too.
    I just asked the same thing a few days ago and am sharing the info I got with you.
  5. skywatcher

    skywatcher Songster

    Feb 22, 2009
    [​IMG] My red shouldered yokohamas are a little bigger that bantys and they nest 2-3 to a box. then they go broody and stay together till all are hatched then they share the little ones sheltering under their wings never had any problems with the hens or rooster hurting the chicks or fighting each other.
    They hatched out at least 7 -8 broods this way last year,however the hatch rate was about 13-22 chicks for 30 eggs there would be a couple dead chicks in the nest or smashed eggs.
    Their hatch rate beat my strofoam incubator.
  6. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Free Ranging

    Feb 2, 2009
    Southeast Louisiana
    I'm not sure what is going on with your post. Are you saying you have 2 or 3 broody hens sharing one nest or are they just crowding in the nest to lay.

    Hens do like to lay in the same nest. That is totally normal. They will also brood in the same nest. That gets a little more complicated.

    If it is hens laying in the same nest, some people do as Mahonri suggests and make the nests small enough that only one hen can get in at a time. Others make the nests big enough that they can share. I'm not sure what the benefits are either way. Both seem to work.

    I personally would not allow two or more broody hens on the same nest, but evidently Skywatcher does and is happy with it. It depends on the breed and the individual hens, but I've read too many posts on here about hens fighting over chicks. I'd suggest isolating one broody with her eggs from the rest of the flock and breaking the others from being broody to keep things simpler, but they are yours and you can try it any way you wish. I do suggest you monitor the situation if you try to let them share and be ready to intervene if you see a need.
  7. Lov'emSouthernEggs

    Lov'emSouthernEggs Songster

    May 2, 2009
    East Carolina
    Isn't it great! My afternoon layers do that too! I have decided they just need more emotional support than the others.

    I also have one that needs eggs to lay her egg. She hords the eggs under her and sits on them until she lays and then she gets out.

    One of my RIR hens presses herself up against the back wall of the box and burries her head. Sometimes she growls.

    I think they are just like any other female...we all have our own way to get the job done.

    I love my chickens! They have been so much fun![​IMG]

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