Seeking Expert Advice- hen nesting outside!

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Ranchgirl2, Nov 9, 2010.

  1. Ranchgirl2

    Ranchgirl2 New Egg

    Nov 9, 2010
    So this is my first experience with chickens. I got 17 this Spring and they are almost 33 weeks old. They are allowed to free range anywhere on our ranch during the day and all march back into the coop at night. About a month ago I found one of my Buff Orpingtons nesting outside and wanting to sit on her eggs. So my husband and I took her and the 31 eggs back into the coop and put them in a nesting box. She was very mad at us and promptly got up and left. I haven't seen behavior since about anyone trying to nest on their eggs. Friday night I went to lock up my girls and the same chick was missing. I searched and finally found her yesterday morning on a nest. I haven't seen her get off of it at all. It is pretty chilly in MT right now with night time temps in the low 20's and daytime in the 40's. I set up a little shelter around her and put a towel over her last night. And yes, there is a rooster with them.

    Should I leave her outside or attempt to move her?
    Will she get up to eat & drink on her own?
    If she continues to nest on them, how long until they hatch?

    Any answers are appreciated!! [​IMG]
  2. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

    Jun 18, 2010
    Southern Oregon
    First question is, do you want her to hatch babies?

    If yes.........
    I'd leave her, if it's a fairly predator safe place. If you need to move her, put her and her nest in an enclosed area, keep it covered to stay dim at first.
    She will get up to eat and drink on her own. Not often, and it's nice to put some food and water close for her, but she will not sit there and die.
    Chicken eggs are 21 days from when she starts setting on them!
  3. Ranchgirl2

    Ranchgirl2 New Egg

    Nov 9, 2010
    Thank you for all the answers. I do want chicks, and think I will leave her where she's at. Today I will construct a bit more of a shelter to protect her and provide some food and H20 closer. If my math is correct, we would get chicks on Thanksgiving day! Yahoo [​IMG]
  4. CMV

    CMV Flock Mistress

    Apr 15, 2009
    I am not an expert by any means, but from what I've read pullet eggs do not have great hatch rates and chicks from pullet eggs are frequently unthrifty. Are you sure you don't want to wait until spring when your girls are a bit older? Pullet eggs are slightly smaller than hen eggs, the membranes are much tougher, and the shells are thicker leading to difficulty for the chicks in developing properly, being able to grow to full size, and difficulties pipping and hatching. I'd hate to have you looking forward to a great Thanksgiving and having it end in heartache.

    I know very little about hatching, although I am currently learning more and more for my own spring hatch, so take anything I say with a grain of salt, but just be aware of the dangers.

    Good luck.
  5. TajMahalChickens

    TajMahalChickens Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 22, 2010
    I've read that if you do want to move her, doing it at night when it is dark will make for a smoother transition...she will be more likely to continue sitting on the eggs instead of quitting like she did the first time you tried to move her.
  6. Toast n Jelly

    Toast n Jelly Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 29, 2007
    St.Charles, QC
    What works best for me when I absolutely want chicks is to bring the hen into a warm place. I build a small pen and let her do her thing. Pretty well quarantees the best hatch possible. Rooster stays out lol.

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