moving broody hens

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by chickenobsessed, Mar 24, 2012.

  1. chickenobsessed

    chickenobsessed Out Of The Brooder

    Feb 21, 2012
    so i have a hen that is broody and wanted to know if i should move her to another nesting box because she is in just a box with no top or nothing and if i move her she will have a top and everything. also all the hens lay in the same box so i won't be able to tell which ones are fresh or which one she is sitting on. and when the chicks hatch they cant get out of the box but if i move her when they hatch they can walk in the coop. i read somewhere that you should move them because when the other hens get in the box they would break the eggs and make a mess??????

    also one other question, will the eggs hatch all at once or no because i a am getting about 3-4 eggs a day so i wanted to put about 12-15 eggs in with my broody hen so i didnt know if she would wait until all of them to hatch or i think i read somewhere online that the won't start to produce until the hen has sat on the full clutch. and also will she sit on all of them until they hatch or once some of them hatch she will get off the clutch??? if so i will put them in an incubator!!!
  2. Life is Good!

    Life is Good! Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 14, 2011
    suburbia Chicagoland
    Perhaps if you posted this question in the 'Incubating and Hatching Eggs' section of the forum, you'd get better responses.
    I'm still waiting for a broody myself, so I've spent a lot of time over in that part of the forum learning as much as possible! Hope you get a reply soon.
  3. chickenobsessed

    chickenobsessed Out Of The Brooder

    Feb 21, 2012
    ok thanks
  4. nurse_turtle

    nurse_turtle Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 28, 2011
    Foothills of NC
    Let the hen raise them. I have my first ever broody who is on a clutch of 8 eggs (from all different hens). I marked her eggs with an "X" using a black sharpie marker so when I check under her each day, I remove the ones that have no mark. If she is out of the weather, she doesn't need a roof, but if not, I would move her.
  5. chickenobsessed

    chickenobsessed Out Of The Brooder

    Feb 21, 2012
    ok thanksa
  6. triplepurpose

    triplepurpose Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 13, 2008
    It's not always that simple. You may not be able to move her successfully (meaning, you will move her, and she become agitated and try to get back to her original nest that she chose).

    Based on my experience, I would try to work around her before trying to relocate her. Can you set up an enclosure around her without moving her to keep the others out, and let the other hens lay in something else? (If you do that, make sure to provide her with food and water that she can access whenever she chooses to during the day).

    Or you can mark the eggs, so that you can remove the ones that were laid by other chickens after she started setting. Although I think this can be a pain in the butt, and confusing and stressful for the setting hen. (Note too that you can handpick the eggs you want her to hatch. They don't have to be HER eggs--she won't know the difference, and you can give her eggs from another species even if you want.)

    If your only option, however, is to move her, make the new nest as similar to the old nest as possible, move her only AT NIGHT (in darkness), do it smoothly and quietly, and be prepared that even so it just may not work. Sometimes it pays to wait a day to make sure she settles onto the new nest before you put your hatching eggs under her.

    And use some diatomaceous earth, both on the hen and the nest, to guard against mites and lice, which can torment broody hens setting in an established hen house as well as vulnerable new chicks.

    Hatching with broodies is not difficult. I've done it a couple of times with great success. But it takes a little strategy and an understanding of what's going on nature-wise to work with it in a practical way.

    Good luck!
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2012
  7. Charm1704

    Charm1704 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 30, 2010
    Elgin, Tx
    Well said SKY!
  8. chickenobsessed

    chickenobsessed Out Of The Brooder

    Feb 21, 2012
    ok i think i will just leave her where see is and get the fresh eggs everyday and will she sit on all the eggs to hatch or after a few hatch and she gets off the nest should i put them in an incubator because i get 3-4 eggs a day and i wanted to put about 12-15 eggs or more eggs in their. But they will hatch on different days so i didnt know if she wout sit on all of them until they hatch????????
  9. LizaBlue

    LizaBlue Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 26, 2010
    Wee Acres
    I am only on my 2nd broody hen sit, but here's my experience: until she is attached to the eggs, she won't want to move to another nest. However, if you wait until the last week, she won't leave them. My hens had been trying to sit for a week or so before I let them have any eggs - just to make sure they were serious. I marked the eggs both times, to make sure I didn't remove the wrong ones; the first hen went from 4 to 13 eggs before I did it, but this current hen never allowed anyone else to sit with her. I bought a rabbit hutch just for brooding: I bought luan (super cheap thin wood board) to cover the wire bottom and a few inches up the wire front, it already had a divider on one end that provided a dark and cozy nest area, with plenty of open area in the other half for her to get out and poop. First hen liked being in the dark, this hen made me set her nest in the open area so she can watch everything - when I tried to put her in the dark side, she went spastic to get out of the hutch. Current hen is sitting on 6 right now with one pipped this morning. In the first hatch, only one lived, and being with mom was awesome. I felt sorry for it and bought it some siblings after just a day or two, and mom didn't like them so she got booted from the hutch for a few days until she tolerated taking care of them too. The one she hatched was much more vigorous, bold, bigger, and seemed smarter than the the others, even though it had been with mom so little. I had to remove mom again after a week: she suddenly realized that Black Australorps may give birth to a Plymouth Rock/BA mix, but not silkies or anything else, lol. When we found the first one hatched (dead), we kept a close eye on the other one. Both hens seem interested in pecking at the pipped eggs - hard to tell what their intentions are or how hard they are pecking, so I've been keeping an eye on them. I fully intend to let this new mom stay with the chicks as long as possible, just letting her out of the cage for breaks.

    So...I'd mark the eggs, and wait until a week before due date to move her to a brooding pen big enough to contain the nest, food & water, and room for her to stretch her legs and poop.

    good luck!
  10. spatulagirl

    spatulagirl Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 12, 2010
    Harpers Ferry, WV
    Well, I slipped a few eggs under a broody hen for a staggered hatch. This was my first time. I took the first chick that hatched (1 out of 3 eggs) and put it with my hatchery chicks. My hen has been setting on three other eggs (five originally, two didn't develop) and two just hatched today. I am waiting on that third.

    I left her in the coop and when it came time for the chicks to hatch I blocked off the nesting box with boards. I have one hen that insisted on laying in the same box as my broody and she was very frustrated when I blocked it off.

    I have plans to move her and the chicks out tomorrow to a cage in the garage while I build a tractor for my non-layers. Next time I try this I am going to move her when she goes broody, it was too stressful wondering if she and the eggs were ok. She goes broody a lot and I plan on trying to hatch guinea keets under her next time.

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