Not sure what to do...


9 Years
Oct 6, 2014
A few days ago, the Speckled Sussex hen went AWOL. I didn't see her for several days, and had almost given up on her. Yesterday she suddenly turned up outta nowhere. Long story short, it turns out she's sitting a clutch of ten of her own eggs, in one of the window wells, hopefully fertile by the Barred Rock rooster.
There are a couple issues I'm concerned with:
1.) She was off the clutch for about an hour or two. Is that too long for the embryos to remain viable?
2.) They're on the bare ground, so they may not be able to stay warm enough as it is. It's kinda late in the year for chickies, anyhow.
3.) She is IN THE WINDOW WELL, unprotected. I did put a board over it to protect her from the weather, and gave her personal food/water feeders.
4.) Is B.R./S.S. a good cross?
5.) Do I even want that many chicks, let alone this late in the year? (I did take-in 2 RIRs and 3 Buff Orps the same day. Gobblers will soon go to Freezer Camp, and ducks are possible candidates as well.)
6.) I saved some misc. eggs from today and didn't put them in the fridge. Not sure from whom they came, but the other ladies are Black Australorps, Barred Rocks, Rhode Island Red, White Leghorn, Buff Orp, and Cuckoo Marans. I'd almost rather toss the Sussex eggs, and replace them with a mix or 6 or so, not 10 of the same. My ultimate goal is to create a land race that has well-laying hens and freezer-ready roos. The variety, instead of the homogeny, might be better. Plus, I'll know their exact due date.
7.) Should I try and move her to different, more secure/sheltered location? I'm concerned she may be found by a predator, and the chickies won't be able to get out of the window well, once they hatch.
8.) I'd just as soon let her go through with it, as try to "break her up." I've not had good results with that in the past.
The eggs should be fine if she is off for an hour or two... as long as it is not really really cold / below freezing.

If she is setting them, she should be able to keep them warm enough, as long as the ground isn't wet.

Sounds like a good place to hide a nest :)

That should be a nice cross, nice duel purpose birds that should lay about the same as the parent breeds.

Don't know if you want that many more chicks ... do you have room for them? With any luck mom would mostly take care of them for you but do you have a place for them or is there room in the coop for a broody hen without everybody being crowded? If they hatch the end of the month, how cold would it be where you are ... she should be able to keep them warm (or you could move mom and chicks to a brooder) and they would be about four weeks old by Thanksgiving so pretty close to being able to do without much heat on their own before it gets really cold?

With the other eggs, the Leghorns are your only white egg layer? They would make the best laying cross, the others would also make nice duel purpose crosses.

I would move her for safety reasons if where she is is exposed to predators. If you do move her, would wait to put the new eggs under her after you have moved her, in case she breaks .... You might try putting the eggs in a nest in the window well and moving the whole thing to where you want her (confine her to it when you move her). If I don't know how well the broody will take moving and I want to try and let her hatch the eggs, I like to use dog crates in a case like that ... I would put hay in a dog crate, put the eggs in the nest and put the whole thing back in the window well for a day or two, usually the hen will still set the eggs, then at night close and move the crate to the pen I wanted her.) ime Sussex are really good broodys once they decide to set, so hopefully she will let you move her if you want to... in a way, if you are selecting for good broodies and if moving her breaks her, then maybe look for another broody...

and Hello :frow and Welcome To BYC!
I have one too...... and I set eggs under her, and have my fingers crossed for a nice mild November. Talking with an experience poultier, he said that the big deal with chicks going into winter is liquid water. So if it gets tooo cold, I may have to bring them to the garage.

Personally, I like having them in the flock with the mama bird doing all the work. No integration problems later on.

Now, I like Kelsie's advice, because I have tried to move a broody hen, and sometimes it will take, and sometimes she will leave the nest and go back to where she likes it best. ugh but if you do it slow, add hay to the nest, then at night, slip hay, nest, eggs, and hen (extra pair of hands needed) into the dog crate, then a couple of days later move it into your coop.

Don't put food and water near the nest. The broody hen needs to get up off the nest once a day, to get some exercise, water and feed. It keeps her healthier. She won't leave the eggs too long, and will go back to them. This is when she can leave 'your' nest, while she prefers hers. If you lock her in the crate, you still need to go down, let her out, and you may have to push her out, let her walk around and then make sure she gets back to the right nest.

We are due October 25. If you are unsure of the eggs she is sitting on, you could candle them.

Mrs K
Sorry for the lack of reply. Been pretty busy with the fall rush at work,
I didn't end up moving her, and I did put a feeder/waterer in the window well with her, though she doesn't seem to use it much. She still makes trips to the coop for food and water, though it's around the end of the "chicken pasture" fence, down in the creek-bottom. :)
It's been unseasonably nice this fall, here in northern Utah. It was 55 degrees at 3:00 am, this morning!
I did candle them a week or so ago, and found two duds that I threw out.
They're due today or tomorrow. I checked them this evening, and I heard pipping on both the eggs I checked! :D
I'm planning on setting up a recently-acquired 6' x 12' dog run in the poultry yard, and running 12" x 1" mesh around the bottom, so the ducks, turkeys, and 14 other chickens won't be too hard on the babes, yet have access to get used to them, at least for the first few weeks. (Though the turkey's number is up, this weekend.) Either that, or I might section-off the 12 x 12, fully 1"-fenced run from the coop, and put them in there with a dogloo for the first few weeks. There IS the issue of unfrozen water, and it will likely start freezing in the next few weeks. (Fount heaters aren't all that cheap!) That's why it might be easier to just "let go" and run them all together.
I've had good luck in the past with combining broodies and chicks into the flock and just letting nature take it's course, but these babes might be pretty tiny, as their mother isn't even 8 months old, and her eggs are on the small side. I do have a fount heater and power in the coop, actually ran this weekend. :)
In getting my chicks this spring, it was my intention to get a mostly dual-purpose, yet well-laying flock, with the intention of creating a sort of self-perpetuating "Landrace," for both meat and eggs. I did have another White Leghorn, but the dog got it this spring. I'd like to get some green/blue/olive eggers at some point, as well.
I've done it before. I started out with a random black, tufted, feather-footed banty cross that I caught on the dairy. Thru a series of convoluted crosses, I ended up with a green-egg laying, tufted, feather-footed, white with black penciling BEAUTY of a bird. Granted, it was more banty-like, but still.
Any ideas as to what these new BR x SS chickies will look like?
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It's been a weird fall. Lots of rain, Indian Summer, etc.
Post some pics?! :)
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I'd try to let momma and chicks rejoin the flock as she see fit...would eliminate trying to integrate after confining them.
Best of CLuck!

Came home to find a little pair of feet under momma, belonging to a still-wet little chickie, by far the TINIEST I've ever seen. The rest of the clutch is in various stages of hatching. :)

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