1. If this is your first time on BYC, we suggest you start with one of these three options:
    Raising Chickens Chicken Coops Join BYC
    Not a member yet? join BYC here & then introduce yourself in our community forum here.

Questions on going au naturale aka hatching with a broody

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by Beau coop, Jan 26, 2009.

  1. Beau coop

    Beau coop Songster

    May 19, 2008
    I having been reading up setting eggs under a broody. But still have some questions. Hope you guys can help.

    1. Wait 3-4 days before getting eggs in case she doesn't stay on the nest. CHECK

    2. Order eggs if you want different breed than what you have. CHECK

    3. Let her sit on eggs until the purchased eggs arrive. CHECK

    This is where I am in the process.

    After eggs arrive let them rest a day before putting under broody.

    Is this to make sure they are warm? Do they just sit on the counter?

    Slip eggs under broody at night, remove "old eggs"
    Got it.

    Now here is the tricky part for me. I thought I would just give her her own area, but still have her in the coop with everyone else. And then hang back and watch for 21 days.

    I have read that some people feel the broody hen should be moved to a separate area entirely. Why is this? Is she unsafe in the coop? Will the other birds harm her or her eggs? Or the chicks when they hatch?

    How will she stay warm- if she is in the nest box alone without other bodies for heat? It's 8 degree today.

    Do I need to add humidity? Or will her body supply it- even in the very dry winter air?

    Will she get herself off the nest to eat and drink or do I need to assist?

    It seems to me nature would have this worked out. Girl goes broody, collects her eggs, sits on them while still in with everyone else (social creatures), eggs hopefully hatch, she nurtures and protects babies. Babies integrate into flock. No?

    Thanks everyone!
  2. birdlover

    birdlover Songster

    Jan 11, 2007
    Northern Va.
    Re: sitting eggs on counter for 24 hours - It's not for warmth. They need to "rest/settle" from their "trip". You can keep them anywhere that's room temp. or, preferably, 60 degrees more or less, pointy end down.

    She will stay warm because her body has feathery down under the outter feathers that lock in the heat. If she's broody, she's not going to be with the others no matter what. She'll be sitting on her eggs (wherever they are).

    Yes, I think it's best to give her her own little place in the coop because sometimes the other chickens WILL bother her, the eggs and/or the chicks. I used to put a nest box (rubbermaid tote with side entrance cut into it and filled with wood shavings) in a corner of my coop. When it was almost time for the chicks to hatch, I would put a chicken wire fence around her nest box (but leave enough room for her and the chicks to come out and walk and scratch).

    She will supply the humidity and all things necessary to hatch the eggs. My broodies always got off the nest to relieve themselves, eat, drink, stretch, etc. before returning to the nest but I kept a dish of food and water nearby just for her own convenience. I know some people who make sure their broodies get off the nest by picking them up and taking them to the feeder but I never have done that.

    As far as integrating them into the flock, that's why I like letting a broody hatch the eggs. She will integrate the babies into the flock and she protects them from the others while they get used to each other. It's sooo much easier than trying to introduce chickens that have been hatched in an incubator!!!

    Forgot to mention, be sure and mark the eggs she will be hatching in case another hen lays an egg in her nest box and, then, you will know to remove that one. [​IMG]
    Last edited: Jan 26, 2009
  3. Chickenaddict

    Chickenaddict Songster

    May 19, 2008
    East Bethel MN
    Quote:The eggs should be fine on the counter in the house.

    The reason people choose to keep their broodies seperate is so that she won't get confused when others lay in a different nest and hop off her eggs to lay on the others, also so the other hens don't add to her clutch, staggered hatches don't always go well and the hen will get off the remaining eggs to tend to the chicks.

    No need to add humidity the hen will take care of all that for you. She should get off the nest but some do not. I make sure to seperate my broodies and put food and water right in front of them so they don't have to get off the nest and the eggs don't get too chilled, If the eggs get to cold they either won't hatch or it delays the hatch.

    If possible i would take her in the house to make sure all the eggs have the best chance of hatching especially with the cold temps going on, if one of the chicks gets away from mama in the coop the others will probably kill the chick and it wouldn't take long for the chick to pass from the cold. I use a big rubber maid tub to keep the broodies in for the first week then move them to another brooder.
  4. PortageGirl

    PortageGirl Songster

    Nov 8, 2008
    Portage County, Ohio
    Mostly yes, you've got it figured out well, and I agree with what birdlover said.

    The only thing I'd say about moving her to a 'new' and more private location is, you know your flock best. If she's of a decent level on the pecking order, and your hens/roos are mostly mellow, I'd leave her where she wants to be. If you have some nasty girls, maybe moving her is best. Trust your judgement I'd say.

    In warm weather, I wouldn't worry, she will get up and go get food and water wherever it is, but in really cold weather, I'd put feed and water near her, but that may just be me fussing. LOL

    Most mama-hens protect the chicks fine after they hatch, she'll keep em warm, bring them near the others while protecting them from the others, and gradually integrate them into the flock and guard them quite well usually.

    I've seen two hens share setting duties on the same nest, then share brooding duties with the chicks too! Pretty cute actually, the chicks would flutter in circles around either or both mama's. I used to call them the 'wylde sisters' cause they always hid in the shrubbery to nest. I couldn't convince them to stay in the coop, but they were great mamas.
  5. 2468Chickensrgr8

    2468Chickensrgr8 Songster

    Nov 7, 2007
    When my little bantam went broody i asked the same questions..I have only done this once...this is whjat i did ....
    ..I ended up putting a small open bottom wire dog crate over her and provide water and feed....I would give mom snacks also...she sometimes got up but I usually seen her laying on the eggs....

    I did this because my other girls were constantly laying there eggs in her nest pushing her out and also giving her a hard time...
    also did this so the other girls could watch what was going on....and get use to all the racket and the new cage etc in their coop....

    Then when the babies hatched I place her and the six babies in a bigger open bottom wired cage and put boards around the bottom so the big girls could see in and not peck the babies ...provided water and feed and treats...also put layers of newspaper down for easy clean up for me....

    Mom did all the rest of the work ...once the babies starting jumping up and over the wood I let them go first in the coop without the other big girls and then with all the rest of the flock...It was fine...mom protected them and taught them....

    You can always make a broody area in the coop or seperated....you can also make your own cage from wire etc...I had extra dog crates on hand ....you can also hang a heat light from the cage to keep them warm in the winter months...but mom does all the work...put the heat light in the middle so the babies dont pile up on the sides...and sufficate..Good luck !!
  6. Beau coop

    Beau coop Songster

    May 19, 2008
    Thanks for all the great info!

    If anyone else has any suggestions I'd love to hear them!

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by: