Moving a brooding hen


Nov 23, 2018
I have an unusual problem! I found a brooding hen (not mine) in my backyard! She's chosen a corner under the trees where two fences meet and has been sitting on 14 eggs for about 2 weeks now. Last week I candled a few and think they are fertilized. It's been cold and raining and raining so I chanced making a little lean-to roof for her to keep the rain off, but it's cold and damp and I'd really like to move her into a shelter but I'm afraid to move the nest in case she doesn't come back to it. What should I do?
Make her a small pen in a pet taxi or wire pen you have. Move her at night, and remember the smaller the better to make her stay on the nest. I would do a 5gallon bucket, cut the lid about 1/4 of the width of the lid. Place some straw in the bucket and place it inside a large or medium wire pet kennel. Put food and water in with her and see what happens. Place straw in the kennel also
Has she let you pick her up? If you can pick her up try transferring her into a cardboard box then move her where you want her. Do you know where she came from? because if your neighbors or someone near you has lost any chickens they may be looking for the hen. Also she is probably protective over her eggs, so expect her little angry if you try moving her and her eggs.
You can try to move her to a more secure setup but have a backup plan if she objects and does not like it enough to stay with the eggs. Do you have a incubator?
She is very vunerable to many different preditors out there, which is a larger problem to her than the weather.
If you have a cage of some sort ( i use an old rabbit hutch with one end enclosed), it needs to be placed somewhere quiet and make it have a dark cozy area for the eggs, lots of straw. Mover her after dark. Place her on the eggs and hopefully after spending the night on them she will decide she likes it and stay put.
Let us know how this turnes out
Good luck!
I've asked my immediate neighbours if they've lost a chicken but I haven't gone doorknocking.
I don't have an incubator.
She won't let me get close her but does come to the backdoor to suggest I go out and feed her!
I have a small wooden (clean) dog house I was thinking I could put her in , and could barricade her in until she settles. I could position it in the same spot that her nest currently sits on.
To be honest, I used to have chooks so have a chicken coop where she could be very comfortable but it's on the other side of the yard.
Or would it be better to just let her be?
(location Melbourne)
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The dog house idea may work but how safe is she from predators? If she's been sitting 2wks, the eggs should be hatching in another week, how safe will she/chicks be? If you try to move her, maybe alot safer/easier at night. Good luck ... You may want to update with info with your location, helps repliers with time zone & climate guesses.
but I can't catch her! (or at least not without traumatizing her )
Wait until it's dark and she's settle down for the night, get yourself a cardboard box and sneak up slowly on her...... now slowly reach down and grab ahold of her (they won't usually budge at night so won't be too difficult), throw her into the box and close the flaps down to where it won't open. Now, get something to hold the eggs in and grab them and put them into the coop, proceed to stuff momma hen in the coop. Voila!

Oh, I forgot to add.... before doing all of this, go set up a nice nesting box in the coop beforehand. And 2 person would be better at this job if you have a partner in crime with you there.

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