PLEASE HELP! -- Will she choose where she wants to brood?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by happytobehome, May 13, 2007.

  1. happytobehome

    happytobehome Hatching

    Apr 25, 2007
    Hello all!

    We are new to having chickens. We were given twenty-one hens and a roo, and we just love them!

    Early in March, one hen became broody, so we moved her from the coop to our shed where she was set up in a nice box with wood shavings under her. She did great, and hatched out 4 babies about three weeks ago. We have since built her a new tractor for her and her babies. [​IMG]

    Now, the problem: We have another hen that's broody. She's been moving back and forth from the nesting boxes (when she gets kicked out for another hen to lay) for about four days now. One night last week, we moved her into the shed, into the box the previous broody hen had occupied. We cleaned it out well, and added all new shavings, but boy, was she MAD. Wouldn't set on the eggs for anything. After about 24 hours of trying to get her comfortable, we finally just took her back to the coop with the others. She ran right in and hopped up on her "favorite nest"! Of course, we had already moved all of the eggs -- but there she sat.

    My question -- why didn't she like the broody nest we had for her, and how can we get her to set where we want her too? I'm afraid the eggs won't hatch if we keep her in the coop with the rest of the girls. Any advice?

    Thanks in advance!
    Last edited: May 14, 2007
  2. keljonma

    keljonma Songster

    Feb 12, 2007
    8A East Texas
    Your first hen may have already been in the broody trance stage, where she will sit no matter what happens. The second may not have broody for as long.

    If you want her to hatch chicks, move her at night to the area you want her to nest. If you let her remain broody and keep her in her favorite nest box, do you have any way to keep the other hens out of the box? If not, some eggs will get broken and new eggs will be laid, so it won't be a true clutch of eggs for hatching.

    If you don't want her to hatch chicks, you can break her. Put her into isolation without any bedding or nesting material. Make sure she has feed, water, oyster shell (and grit if you feed anything but commercial feed). The isolation space can be a crate or cage. We use our laundry/mud room. The longer you let her sit in the nest boxes, the longer it will take to break her broody spell and the longer until she starts laying again.

    Good luck!

    if edited, probably for typos...
    Last edited: May 14, 2007
  3. happytobehome

    happytobehome Hatching

    Apr 25, 2007
    Thank you so much for your reply!

    Yes, we really do want her to set. We moved her at night last time and closed her into her new nest so that she would know it was home. We opened her up the next morning and she flew off her nest and then refused to go back to her eggs.

    My husband is fashioning a way for her to stay in her favorite box now, but I'm afraid she won't have the access to food and water she will need while she sets. I'll have to go out and see what he's come up with.

    Do you think she didn't like the smell of the box the previous hen had occupied?

    Thank you so much for your advice![​IMG]
  4. SpottedCrow

    SpottedCrow Flock Goddess

    You sometimes have to physically take the hen off the nest to eat and drink and let off a load of broody poop. She'll go right back in when she's done.

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