Putting a broody hen to work

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by JustOneMore, Apr 27, 2011.

  1. JustOneMore

    JustOneMore Chillin' With My Peeps

    We have a wyandotte hen that has gone broody but no rooster. Every afternoon when we gather eggs, she's sitting on 6 or so of assorted colors. We remove them and she spends the remainder of the day pouting in the nest box. She must leave at some point because the next day she'll be in the same box clinging to a new group of eggs. So she's either leaving so someone can deposit theirs in the box, or she's gathering them up and rolling them to her nest.

    I am thinking about ordering some hatching eggs for her. From other posts, it looks like this can be done successfully. My questions are:

    1. How many eggs can a novice hen successfully manage?

    2. Will she leave her egg-layden nest to eat and drink, or should we plan to bring food and water to her?

    3. When they hatch, should we take the chicks from her and raise them in the brooder or can she raise them herself? If they stay with her in the coop, will we have to feed all of the flock chick starter when the babies are small?

    Thank you for any and all input!
  2. Silkie-Feet

    Silkie-Feet Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 16, 2010
    Ky, Kentucky
    1.)a dozen will be fine for her
    2.)don't take food to her, she can feed herself and get back on eggs.
    3.)she can raise them
    i guess that sums it up~!
  3. Tam'ra of Rainbow Vortex

    Tam'ra of Rainbow Vortex Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 30, 2009
    Rogue Valley, S. Oregon
    You might want to separate her so the others don't squeeze in beside her (or take advantage of her food breaks) and lay eggs in her nest. This can quickly make too many to handle, resulting in some of your hatching eggs being pushed out in the cold to die.
    Of course, having said that, every time I have moved a broody she quit on me till I put her back with the others then she went right back to it.
  4. JustOneMore

    JustOneMore Chillin' With My Peeps

    Thank you so much for your input!

    So the chicks can be raised by their surrogate mother with the flock?

    We feed layer pellets to the existing hens. If I put a container of chick starter in the coop will the chicks eat that rather than the pellets? Or should the whole flock be converted back to chick starter?

    I assume at some point the family will go outside. Our hen door is about 3' from the ground with a long slatted ramp leading to it. Should I put a low barrier on each side of the ramp so the chicks don't fall off?

    Sorry to be full of questions. I'd hate to have her successfully hatch them and then lose them to a dumb novice owner mistake!
  5. CrestedGirl

    CrestedGirl Polish Obsessed

    Mar 7, 2011
    Fort Worth, Tx
    1. I agree around a dozen eggs. You can always put a X and an O on the eggs you order to tell them apart from the freshly layed ones. 2. yes all hens will leave to eat and drink every 1 to 2 days, they will usually take 15 minute brakes. 3. I would separate her from the rest of the flock with her eggs mabey in a large dog crate or something simular, with chick starter and water.
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 27, 2011
  6. justtoni44

    justtoni44 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 13, 2010
    I do not know if this will work for anyone else, but this is how we do it.
    Last year we had 5 broody's at the same time.
    What I use for brooders are pegboards held together with zip ties. These were cut a home depot.....and are 2x4.......
    I put wire on the top.
    We also used these for the broodies...........sometimes two hens in one box...........they just shared chicks.
    This way, Mom and the chicks could stay on the starter.
    When the chicks were a week or so old, we proped the brooder off the ground in the morning , removed the wire on top for Mom..Mom would go out and little ones could follow.
    She automatically took them back at nap and bed time and they fit into the flock without incident.
    They are so sweet.wish I had a broody now [​IMG]

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