Mabel's Broody Adventure ENDS


The Omelet Ranch
10 Years
Sep 18, 2009
SF East Bay CA
Help, I'm really worried about my girl....She hasn't left the nest for 5 1/2 days now, I put a little bowl of water and she gulped it down. I'm so worried as none of her feed has been touched

I just took her off the nest...i know i know you all said to leave her alone, but I was watching her and she was breathing a bit through her mouth. She can't walk!!! I set her next to the eggs and she's made no attempt to get back on them. She's missing all her feathers on her that normal.

I put a little bowl of grapes and she started gobbling them, then I gave her some cracked sunflower and she just went crazy eating. She's a bit more attentive and she's looking around. If she doesn't get up, what should I do


Mabel went broody a few days ago, she is my dearest girl. BIG GIRL wants to be a momma, just so happens I wanted some chicks but DH wasn't thrilled, Mabel helped with the decision and I told him that we have to 'help" her out...all is good except I don't have a clue about what I'm doing. I have so many questions...I've read every broody post on BYC...

Worked all yesterday finding eggs for my broody Mabel and now I have the following arriving on thursday
3 sicilian buttercup eggs
3 barnevelders eggs
3 Silver laced wyandotte eggs
3 speckled sussex eggs
3 white orpingtons
some will probably break so it will end up more like 12 under her, she's a very big girl

I'm worried I'm not doing this right. I took Mabel out of the nest box in the coop and put her in a xlarge dog crate inside the covered run. she has a cardboard nest box where she is sitting on the ceramic eggs I gave her. she has food and water in there. I covered her cage half way because it will get to about 45 degrees here last night and may be chilly rain outside. I'm so worried I'm screwing up, will this be ok for her. The other girls were running around the cage earlier, so I faced her outside but I'm sure they bothered her. Should I bring her in the if you have a few moments to spare for a rookie in this area.

I just uncovered her, she's still on her eggs.
1. Is the dog kennel big enough for her?
2. When the eggs arrive, I heard I need to let them set? Is that true if they are going under Mabel and not in an incubator?
3. Do I take her out of the cardboard nest box I made take the ceramic eggs out and then put all 12 under her? Is this after sun down?
4. Will she continue to lay eggs daily? If so should I collect them daily? She's never had a rooster so they will be infertile
5. I have the door shut in the that wise to keep the other girls out of there?
6. She has food and water in the kennel, should I offer her some treats or scrambled eggs etc?
7. Should I be covering her at night?
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looks like my set up. i have a broody in the same type of kennel in my coop. golden laced wyandotte sitting on 6 eggs due to hatch march 15th give or take. first time broody.
Congratulations to you & Mabel! Everything looks fantastic the way you have it. The only thing I'd suggest to make it even better is to fence off a little corner of that coop around her crate so she can get out to poop & dust bathe. She *could* make out all right in that big crate, but would probably enjoy having just a little bit more room to stretch during her daily breaks. You could also dust around & under the crate to discourage mites or ants.

Now that she's broody she will no longer lay eggs daily, but other hens will be attracted to her nest spot, push her out & lay their own eggs there. If you think the other hens are bothering her you can screen the front with an old shirt cut into a deep fringe, for more privacy while still allowing ventilation.

She should be warm enough there, but a blanket or sleeping bag tossed over the crate on really cold nights may help. Keep an eye on her condition, but she should do fine making her own decisions on how often to get up to eat/drink/poop. I do NOT ever take my hens off their nests to make them take an unplanned break.

She won't be expending as much energy so she won't need as much food. Just keep her supply handy & fresh and she will take what she needs. She may not even poop every day, but look out when she does. It will be big & firm & smelly!

Since she's content in that cardboard box I'd go ahead & let her stay there to brood. I don't know about letting shipped eggs rest, but I swap my broody hens' eggs after dark. I just reach under the hen, remove whatever she's been setting on, and then place the new eggs one by one up against her chest. It's sweet to watch them scoop them with their beak & tuck them neatly under them. Then they do a side-to-side movement to settle everything in place, my kids love to watch that & call it the "Chickie Cha-cha". They'll even chant "Chick-ee chick-ee cha-CHA! Chick-ee chick-ee cha-CHA!"

This is one of my favorite aspects of chicken keeping, you've got a lot of fun to look forward to! Let me know if you have any more questions! I wish you the best of success!
cool thanks for the info...

will she really want to dust bathe? ok I better rethink this. Maybe I'll hang netting from the roof down to a dog fence and give her that space to explore if she wants to. If I simply put the 3' dog fence all the other girls will jump in...the run is sand and moist because it's been so rainy and dreary..I can put a little both with dirt and soot. What do you think about that?
Sunny_Side_Up gave you great advice. I'll give my opinion on some of these.

12 eggs will work out well. She probably could handle 15 or 16 but for her and your first time, 12 will be great. Nice selection too. And don't be shocked if someone send you an extra egg or two. Some folks are just nice that way.

I like leaving them in the coop. I think it helps with integration issues, though a broody has such a bad attitude, especially when she has chicks, that the others quickly learn to leave her alone.

I would check her for mites, especially roost mites, which means you have to check at night. I once heard a University of Arkansas Ag Professor say that roost mites kill more broody hens that anything else. Where you have her I don't think it is a big risk, but it never hurts to check.

1. Is the dog kennel big enough for her? Yes, it is big enough. A little more room is always better, but it's more room than mine have. She will take giant poos so you will need to do some cleaning in there anyway unless she has a huge area or access to outside. She will dust bath if she gets the chance, but that is one of the disadvantages of isolating a broody. The logistics of giving her some room to dust bath can be difficult. You probably do have room to set a container of sand or dirt in there for her to use for a dust bath if you want to try. Maybe another cardboard box or a cat litter box set in the corner next to the nest box?

2. When the eggs arrive, I heard I need to let them set? Is that true if they are going under Mabel and not in an incubator? Either way they need to set a day and settle.

3. Do I take her out of the cardboard nest box I made take the ceramic eggs out and then put all 12 under her? Is this after sun down? I also woul dleave the cardboard box. She seems hapy withit. Why upset her and take the chance of her not staying broody by taking her nest away? And I agree. Switch the eggs at night.

4. Will she continue to lay eggs daily? If so should I collect them daily? She will not lay eggs.

5. I have the door shut in the that wise to keep the other girls out of there? You can do it both ways, but I think it is best to keep her locked up. Otherwise you will need to check under her daily for new eggs. When she gets off to take her daily constitutional, she may come back and find another hen on her nest. It is possible she would then go sit on another nest with an egg in it. And since you switched her, she may not be as strongly attached to this specific nest as you would hope. If I were not going to isolate her, I would have left her in the other nest.

6. She has food and water in the kennel, should I offer her some treats or scrambled eggs etc? It won't hurt to offer her some extra treats, but she is not going to be eating a lot of food while broody. I'd do the best I could of seeing she has a balanced diet instead of giving her a lot of some specific treat. That means seeing that she mostly eats the formulated food.

7. Should I be covering her at night? If it is only getting down in the 40's at night I would not be concerned. If the kennel door is facing into a wind, you might put something there to keep the wind from blowing directly on her, but that temperature in the absence of a draft hitting her would not concern me at all.
thanks so much, she did have a bad case of lice (not mites) about 4 weeks ago, we dusted her and everything else in our chicken world...argh....twice, so she only has old egg sacks attached to some feathers...poor girl.

Mites, oh man, Ok I'll check her, but maybe I should wait until she's been on the eggs a few days, or do it tonight before the eggs arrive? Don't know how they differ from lice...I guess I've got some reading to do....

Oh and I found her some white Orp eggs too, she's going to be one happy momma
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cherylcohen - I also have a broody. She is a 1 yr old Blue Standard Cochin. She started hogging the nest a few days ago so this afternoon I switched her to a little tractor I had built for a pair of Japs last year. I am getting some EE eggs tonight and will put them under her to see what happens.

My dilemma is that it still gets in the low 20's or a little colder at night. Does she need heat? Hang on, I'll run out and take some pics of the set up.

Ok here is the tractor.


And here is Fluffy. She is all snuggled down on her lemons and limes. I went to the store and there were no plastic eggs so they have plastic citrus as "eggs".

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Update in first post
I cornered off an area in the covered run with hardware cloth and a tarp, it's about 5' x 4', gave her grass clipping, food, dried meal worms and vitamin water. Am I on the right track....her eggs arrive tomorrow...I'm going nutz!!!



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