moving a broody

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Saerasx, Dec 30, 2014.

  1. Saerasx

    Saerasx Chirping

    Mar 6, 2014
    Beaverton, OR
    One of my Australorps has decided to go broody...why now I dont know when its freezing cold, but thats what she is up to. Anyway she is setting 6 mixed eggs and has refused to use the coop. She is currently setting them in probably the safest and warmest spot in our yard, the corner of our laundry room where the vent is. Im concerned that if she does successfully hatch these little ones that they will just be too cold to survive. This is the first day she is on the hatching eggs too. Would it be worth it to set up a maternity ward in our garage? Would that mess up her cycle? I dont have an incubator yet (ordered) but it wont be here till the end of the week for that just in case she decides she doesnt care anymore.

    Im in Portland, Or and we are supposedly going to see temps in the 20s tonight. Luckily she is shielded from any wind that may come up and the vent is constantly giving out heat... Any thoughts? Advice?
  2. LRH97

    LRH97 Songster

    Jul 29, 2013
    Southern Illinois
    Ah, those Winter broodies can be stinkers! I would wait until after dark, after she's been sleeping a while and attempt to move her. She may wander around a bit in whatever set up you give her, but if she's truly devoted, she'll return to her nest. Broodies, if allowed to brood outside, are highly vulnerable to predators, and the chicks will be too when they hatch, so I suggest moving her as soon as you can. Good luck!
  3. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted

    Jun 18, 2010
    Southern Oregon
    When I've needed to move broody hens, it's usually taken them a day or so to settle down in the new place and start setting again. I usually give them the eggs they were setting on to start, but have another batch in reserve in case the hen is off the eggs more than a day or so, if it takes that long I start over with new eggs.
  4. krista74

    krista74 Songster

    Jun 4, 2014
    Victoria, Australia.
    If you are certain that she is safe and not at risk of predator attack, you could just leave her where she is. I have had great luck moving a broody her as soon as all her chicks had hatched. In fact, I've done it 4 times this year alone! I just put the chicks in a bucket, pick up Momma and move the whole lot of them together. As long as she has her babies with her she will be fine.

    The issue I have with moving broody hens prior to hatching is that they seem to imprint to the nest, not to the eggs. The might want to go back to that spot, wether the eggs are there or not. Moving them prior to hatching brings with it a risk that you will break the broody spell. It's a small risk, but a risk none-the-less.

    Don't worry about the low temps. Momma is more than capable of keeping her babies warm. It is lovely and toasty underneath her, and she will direct the chicks under her when it's cold. She will even point her beak to show them the way in! It's really very sweet.

    I wish you all the very best with your hatch!

    - Krista
    1 person likes this.
  5. centrarchid

    centrarchid Free Ranging

    Sep 19, 2009
    Holts Summit, Missouri
    An approach I use can involve placing a pen over the broody hens existing nest for duration of the incubation cycle. I place pen so she is in middle making it harder for a predator to get at her by reaching through. If predator does invest the effort then secondary measures (dogs) have time to get there and engage predator.

    With when nesting against a building you may have to move clutch a couple of inches to get pen base between nest and wall. Hen she and brood will be protected. Pen would require about two ours worth of labor.

    Alternatively you could simply use the same type of wire to form a loop around her so as to at least slow predator.

    Following hatch you will have a great deal more flexibility with moving which I would do promptly to at least a wind protected and dry location that gets a little direct sun. Supplemental feeding will be more important than during other parts of year. Do so with consideration about how it will attract predators to grounded hen with brood.
  6. Saerasx

    Saerasx Chirping

    Mar 6, 2014
    Beaverton, OR
    Thank you for all of the advice! She definitely seems to know what she is doing and I know she is safe from predators. I think I will probably end up doing the wait for everyone to hatch and then move mamma and babies to the garage for better safety. The other ladies seem to be giving her a hard time when she comes out to eat and drink, but I have been making sure that she gets enough- proud of her for doing this is in such cold weather! Thankfully we havent had to deal with snow yet!

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