Questions about a new broody....

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by MetalFarm, Oct 18, 2015.

  1. MetalFarm

    MetalFarm Chirping

    Dec 1, 2013
    Nashville, TN
    This is our second broody. The first I moved into the garage so she had peace and quiet and let her raise her chicks in there until they were a month old then moved them back into the hen house. It worked fine although only 3 of the 7 are still with us and 2 are boys but that's another story.

    I'm thinking with this new one I'll leave her in the nesting box in the hen house is this a bad idea? They make a hell of a mess in the garage. There are plenty of other boxes for the non broodies. My only concern at this point is the boxes are rather high off the ground about 2.5 feet. Is that too high for baby chicks?

    It's also much colder now with our first frost last night is that a concern?

  2. LRH97

    LRH97 Songster

    Jul 29, 2013
    Southern Illinois
    I have allowed broodies to hatch chicks in the coop before. I do believe it is a more pleasant experience for them to be in peace and quiet in their own little space, however I do understand not wanting to clean up your garage every day. I would not allow the hen to hatch out eggs off of the ground though. A chick could fall out in the middle of the night and freeze or get trampled or what have you. I put a separate nesting box that I bought at Rural King in a corner of the coop and leave her be. The chicks never have a problem getting back up under the hen. I've even made a little mountain of straw with a little depression in the middle and the hen used that as her nest. Whatever you decide, make sure that the chicks can get back up under mom by themselves. As for heat, momma hen should have no problem keeping the babies warm by herself. Good luck!
  3. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Chicken tender Premium Member

    Jul 16, 2015
    central Wisconsin
    I have allowed hens to hatch chicks in the nest boxes, it can be tricky when they hatch, they have to be transferred to the floor before anyone falls out and dies, and put into a small pen so the chicks can't wander far for the first week. Hopefully you can be around, it can be done, just be ready to think and do things on the fly.
  4. song of joy

    song of joy Crowing

    Apr 22, 2012
    Central Pennsylvania
    I'd recommend partitioning off a small area for her within the hen house. A 2 x 3' area should be fine, with a nest set up for her on the floor.

    If other hens continue to have access to her next box, they'll lay their eggs there as well, adding them to the clutch. This means you'll have to mark her eggs at the beginning of incubation and check the nest every single day to remove the eggs that other hens have added. The other risks include eggs getting broken as multiple hens come and go from her nest box, and the broody hen getting into the wrong nest box after she's taken her daily break, which may kill the developing embryos in these cold temperatures.

    Edit - I forgot to mention that I only keep the hen and chicks isolated (but in view of) the rest of the flock during incubation, hatch and for 4 days after the hatch. Then I let the mother hen and chicks mingle with the rest of the flock. The hen will protect and integrate the chicks into the flock, saving you LOTS of work.
    Last edited: Oct 19, 2015
  5. Pork Pie Ken

    Pork Pie Ken Flockless Premium Member

    Jan 30, 2015
    Africa - near the equator
    I let my hens hatch in the regular nest boxes. I've never had an issue with other hens trying to lay in the same box, or to any other issues mentioned. I do however only let my alpha hen sit - seems to make life easier (other members do let subordinate hens sit and have not reported any issues, i should point out). I simply transfer the mother and chicks to a mini-coop the day they hatch (or the day after, if a few eggs have yet to hatch). I think that when they are born in the main coop, and let out to do their thing with mum from day 1, they are more readily integrated into the flock. I have some 15 day old chicks at the moment and they free range with mum all day, and mix with the rest of the flock and on a night time, they go to the main coop (a shed actually) and sleep in the mini-coop. Mum will decide when its time to roost with the others (around 5-6 weeks in my opinion).

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