Should I separate a broody hen from her flock?

PioneerChicks

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Hello! I am asking this question on behalf of a friend of mine who is new to chickens. She isn't on BYC, but I'm working on that;).

One of her BO hens went broody and she is considering letting her hatch some chicks. I'm helping her the best I can but I don't know the answer to one of her questions. She is wondering if she should separate the broody or if she can just let her raise chicks in the coop's "community" nesting boxes.

She has two other hens, one is another BO and neither she nor I know what the other is. They are very tame and friendly to humans, but of course they might act differently towards chicks.

So, what does everybody think? I know my friend is hoping she won't have to buy and set up another cage, because in their current predicament that would be a pain. Advice?
 

Overo Mare

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I let my Broody hens raise the chicks right in the coop with everyone else. I have a "maternity ward" area that is sectioned off with hardware cloth. I put them and their brood in there and shut thw door once I know shes broody. I will sometimes shut the door again around day 18, and keep it shut for the first few days. Other than that, the hens do all the work and they do it well.

20200507_083923.jpg
 

PioneerChicks

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I let my Broody hens raise the chicks right in the coop with everyone else. I have a "maternity ward" area that is sectioned off with hardware cloth. I put them and their brood in there and shut thw door once I know shes broody. I will sometimes shut the door again around day 18, and keep it shut for the first few days. Other than that, the hens do all the work and they do it well.

View attachment 2186861
Thank you! That looks like a great set-up! Do you think it would be possible for the mama to raise chicks with the flock right from day one?
 

Ridgerunner

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I let my broody hens hatch with the flock and raise the chicks with the flock from Day 1. I do not isolate them. Others on here isolate broody hens while incubating, while hatching, for a few days after hatch, or for weeks or months after hatch. I don't consider one way right and the others wrong, they are just different ways to go about it.

What does your friend's facilities look like? With only three hens that often means really small. And often an elevated coop. Those can have some implications as to which way might be better. Not so much during incubation but afterwards. A photo of the nest could be helpful.

I don't know where she is getting fertile eggs. If she does isolate her do that before she gives her the eggs. She may break from being broody if she is moved. In any case the eggs all need to start incubation at the same time.

I mark the fertile eggs I want my broodies to hatch, I use a black Sharpie. Then every day after the others have laid I remove any eggs that don't belong. That's all I do until they hatch.
 

PioneerChicks

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I let my broody hens hatch with the flock and raise the chicks with the flock from Day 1. I do not isolate them. Others on here isolate broody hens while incubating, while hatching, for a few days after hatch, or for weeks or months after hatch. I don't consider one way right and the others wrong, they are just different ways to go about it.

What does your friend's facilities look like? With only three hens that often means really small. And often an elevated coop. Those can have some implications as to which way might be better. Not so much during incubation but afterwards. A photo of the nest could be helpful.

I don't know where she is getting fertile eggs. If she does isolate her do that before she gives her the eggs. She may break from being broody if she is moved. In any case the eggs all need to start incubation at the same time.

I mark the fertile eggs I want my broodies to hatch, I use a black Sharpie. Then every day after the others have laid I remove any eggs that don't belong. That's all I do until they hatch.
I don't have pictures of the coop, but it is one of those tiny ones you can buy at store that can only for around 6-8 adult chickens (don't worry, they won't keep most of the chicks). I think the nesting boxes are on the upper level. There is a ramp leading up to the top. The food and water are in the bottom level.

I will make sure to tell her to mark the eggs! Thanks for the tips!

They can absolutely raise right in the coop with the rest. This is just how I personally do it.

Ridgerunner brings up good points about space and height. Would help if we could see pictures of the setup.
I prefer to keep the broody hen right where she's at, which might be in with the flock or occasionally in a shed or something.

They usually do fine with the rest of the flock.
Okay, glad to know they can be kept together. Thank you all!
 

PioneerChicks

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The ones that really are only good for about 3 adult birds?
If they were being kept in the coop full time it could fit four, but they free range their chickens and I think (not sure though) they added a run with a few more square feet of space that is predator proof. Because of this I believe it can fit more hens.
 

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