Moving Broody Hens a couple miles to new home

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by GJudy, Mar 18, 2018.

  1. GJudy

    GJudy Chirping

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    We are being given some broody hens because their behavior doesn't work in the current environment. We will have them in a separate living area with nest buckets and nice space. I have a couple questions to get off to a good beginning.
    • Will moving them a couple miles likely mess with their broody attitude? The present owner has been taking eggs away.
    • Can I put eggs (that should be fertile) in with them right away?
    • or Would it be better to let them settle in.
    • Will egg fertility be influenced by age of hens and rooster? This is the third summer for the rooster and some hens, 4th for some hens
    The eggs come from hens who have a rooster, but don't give a hoot about hatching. They are older, but after a LONG molt time this year, are laying stupendously! Today, 7 eggs, yesterday 6, day before that 2, then 4, etc. Never fewer than two after they came back to egg interest in February.
     
  2. sylviethecochin

    sylviethecochin Free Ranging

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    Moving them will likely stress them and interfere with broodiness. You can try moving them at night and keeping them in a coop for a few days after, but I think it'll break them. Let them settle in and see what happens.

    Yes, fertility can be influenced by age, but 3 and 4 is within an acceptable range. Make sure your boy is covering all of the hens.
     
    azygous likes this.
  3. azygous

    azygous Crossing the Road

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    It's a gamble whether moving broody hens to a new home will disrupt the hormones. It will depend on how persistently broody they are.

    But it's probably not a good idea to plop two new hens down into a strange flock while broody. Let me draw you a picture, assuming you have an existing flock that these hens will need to integrate themselves into.

    Let's say the two hens remain broody and sit their clutch of eggs for three weeks, hatching chicks. Then what? These two hens are strangers not known to the flock, and they are entering at the bottom of the pecking order. Broodies typically will introduce their chicks to the flock and begin to integrate them by the end of the first week. Success depends on the broody hen having rank in the flock so she can threaten any flock members that would do the chicks harm. These hens will have no such status.

    There's a very real danger that these hens will be too busy defending themselves in the new flock in which they suddenly find themselves that they can't defend their chicks.

    The safest thing and the least stressful strategy would be to pass on this current broody state and break the broodies while introducing them to their new flock. The hens will integrate and assume their place in the new pecking order within three weeks. They should go broody again thirty to forty days from when they begin to lay again. By that time, they will be part of the flock and better able to raise their broods successfully in their new flock.

    Another option would be to keep them totally separate from the flock and have the two hens and their chicks constitute a second and separate flock.

    Or have you already given thought to this and come up with a different plan?
     
    Miss717 and sylviethecochin like this.

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