newbie with a broody hen

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by nandbumblebee, Apr 16, 2012.

  1. nandbumblebee

    nandbumblebee New Egg

    Apr 16, 2012
    I am super excited that one of my hens is broody however I have three problems and I'm hoping someone can help me out. 1. She keeps taking all the other hens eggs. I have several nesting boxes however, all my hens lay in the same box. They will try to pile two or three in the box when they need to lay, rather than just using one of the empty ones. The broody hen is now sitting in the favorite box and everyone else just keeps laying around her. She takes their eggs with the unfortunate result that she cannot care for as many eggs as she has and they all at one time or another are exposed to cold weather.
    Problem numero dos is that the other hens eat the eggs that she is trying to sit on if they get the chance. We have lost several eggs already this way. I have tried to solve both these problems by moving her into a temporary coop by herself, but this has just led to problem number three:
    When she is moved to a different place, nest and all, she immediately abandons the eggs she has been sitting on and becomes very upset trying to find a way back to the rest of the flock. Any suggestions? This hen has hatched eggs before but she didn't belong to us at the time, I know she can do it though.
  2. geepy

    geepy Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 24, 2009
    central FL
    You could put her in a dog crate with the eggs, at night. The smaller the space the less they will freak out. It has worked for me in the past.
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2012
  3. Spangled

    Spangled Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 12, 2012
    Serenity Valley
    Those are all standard issues with broodies. The usual solutions are:

    1) Separate her. When putting her in new nest, give her some eggs you don't need or some fake eggs to set on while she settles in to her new place.

    2) This problem solves itself when you separate your hen from the other chickens.

    3) As geepy mentioned, a small space will help her stay on the nest and not walk around trying to get back to her other nest. In my experience (4 broodies this season and others before this--and there are so many variables), the small space needs to be big enough for a nest and a similarly sized area for her to get up and relieve herself plus room for a chick waterer and small dish of feed. She'll drink out of the chick waterer. We use the pint jar kind. We have a wooden box with two separate doors on the front with one having hardware cloth (tiny wire mesh) over it. It's the broody's window during the day, but it shuts at night. This box is on the darkest side of the chicken coop so that she can see, but can also be soothed by the dimness instead of agitated by the harsh light of day. If you move from her nest in the coop onto her new eggs and nest in the evening after dark, she should be settled by her second morning in the wooden box. (If she hasn't settled by her third morning, she's probably not going to this time. Let her go back to her coop.) If she does settle, then a couple of nights later, you can put in the eggs you've recently collected. Play the rest by ear. If she's had chicks before, then eventually it will work out. I'm wondering what the set up was that she used prior to this to hatch her eggs. She'd probably do well if it could be duplicated.

    Sorry for mentioning stuff you already understand. I couldn't figure out how to explain it without also mentioning many of the obvious bits that you already obviously know and understand.

    Oh, and don't get discouraged. Sooner or later, it will work out. The dog carrier, latched and covered on two or three sides to keep the light levels low, would be something I'd try if I didn't have a couple broody boxes.
  4. nandbumblebee

    nandbumblebee New Egg

    Apr 16, 2012
    Thanks for the tips, I was getting discouraged. I will try that!

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