My Broody Hen Won't Accept her new Placement

AurumGrace

In the Brooder
Jun 12, 2018
13
11
33
Dallas OR
hello everyone

about a week and a half ago it became obvious that my hen Aurum was broody. She had made her own little nesting spot in the hosta plants by our hot-tub, and was found laying on 10 eggs. She was broody last year, choosing the coop as her nesting spot, but we had to break her out of it because we had enough chickens.

This year however, we just lost 3 chickens, and so Aurum's broodiness opens up an unexpected window for "chick-swapping" as her eggs are not fertilized.

Yesterday night I moved her and the eggs into a medium sized cat carrier (after being thoroughly sanitized) and put it at the end of our run near a little door so we could easily access her.

She was not happy to be moved and struggled to go back to her hosta-nest, clucking broodily the whole time and fluffing herself up. I was forced to close the carrier door so she would stay with her eggs (which she did not seem to even notice were there!) I was actually worried she would step on them in her frenzy to get out.

The next morning she was calmly laying on her eggs, and when I came into view she performed the usual "broody-hen" attitude, so I though perhaps she had grown accustomed to her new spot. When I opened the carrier door however, so she would have the option of getting out to poop and eat, she bolted straight to the hostas! I had to close the door again.

What should I do? Is this normal behavior? I need her to prefer the carrier!
 

aart

Chicken Juggler!
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Nov 27, 2012
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Welcome to BYC!

Is the carrier big enough for her to get up and stretch her legs and eat/drink/poop??

If so, leave her in there with some fake eggs until she either refuses to set or settles back down on the nest.

If not, maybe you could extend her confinement space with some fencing.

Do you plan to graft day old chicks or get her some fertile eggs?
 

FlyingNunFarm

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May 28, 2015
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Sometimes they pick a spot and won’t brood anywhere else.

Did you already give her the fertile eggs? When I tried to move my broody I set her on golf balls for a few days first. Once she stayed on the golf balls I let her take the eggs. I set them in front of her and let her pull them under herself. Then I took the golf balls.

If she won’t be moved is there a way you can protect her in the hostas? Fence her in and give her her own food and water.
 

azygous

Crossing the Road
10 Years
Dec 11, 2009
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Yes, it's normal behavior. Beoody hens are very fickle. And very bad tempered. And they hate change. Well, all chickens hate change.

There's probably something about the pet crate she doens't feel is adequate for her needs. Try to duplicate the qualities of the hostas. Perhaps she feels vulnerable and exposed. Perhaps there isn't enough room. She's going to need room to bring the chicks out of the nest on the second day to teach them to eat and drink. Have you thought that far ahead?
 

AurumGrace

In the Brooder
Jun 12, 2018
13
11
33
Dallas OR
Thank you all for your fast responses!

The carrier is about the size of two average-sized laying boxes, and about 1 1/2 feet high. I was planning on leaving the door to the carrier open, however, so she could get out and stretch her legs, dust bathe, or eat right there in the Run. Since she runs off every time i open the door though...

we are planning on giving her some day old chicks, which will hopefully be arriving around the 18th or earlier. The eggs she is laying on are her own un-fertilized brown eggs.

We would simply put her in the hostas protected by fencing, however, wouldn't that mean that would be where she raises her chicks?

I am glad to know it is normal behavior. I am wondering if the scent of the carrier is not to her liking? We did sanitize it thoughouly before placing her in there, with lysol wipes, soap and lysol spray... perhaps she doesn't like the smell? Do you think putting some hosta leaves in there with her would calm her down? or something else?

As far as being able to bring the chicks out for "lessons" yes, she has the entire run and coop to do that, if she will be able to stay in the carrier with the door open.

Basically, we have a squarish coop 2 feet off the ground that's attached to a long run with a door at the end. We have placed Aurum and her eggs in the carrier at the end of the run near the door which we keep closed. Inside the run is a ramp leading to the coop, food, water, and plenty of room to run around. Hope that helps :)

thank you all so much!
 

azygous

Crossing the Road
10 Years
Dec 11, 2009
18,622
22,737
912
Colorado Rockies
Sounds like she should be okay where you have her. Keep the carrier closed for another day, and she might have adjusted to it by then.

Chickens don't rely on scent to garner information as cats and dogs do. Chickens are concerned mostly about cover so predators won't see them.

A very long time ago, before I knew or cared much about keeping chickens, we had two bantams that ran wild. The hen disappeared for a few weeks and returned with eleven chicks. The rooster and hen taught the chicks to roost in a hedge outside my bedroom window.

That might tell you something about how chickens raise chicks when the owner doesn't care what they do. In my defense, I was very young, ignorant, and stupid. Thank goodness I developed a few brain cells since.
 

AurumGrace

In the Brooder
Jun 12, 2018
13
11
33
Dallas OR
Thank you azygous, I will keep the carrier closed for now, and make sure she eats and drinks. That's good to know about their smell, I will see if I can do anything to make the carrier seem more secure for her.

Yes, we have a friend who keeps a large flock of chickens and had something similar happen... hen disappeared, came back with 7 chicks in tow! She now has more chickens than she ever wanted and keeps a close count on her hens haha :)
 

AurumGrace

In the Brooder
Jun 12, 2018
13
11
33
Dallas OR
That's funny I just had the same thought. I was out putting a towel over the opening of the carrier so she would have fewer distractions and feel more "hidden." She seems a little calmer now! Thanks
 
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