Should I Separate My Broody And Her Eggs/Chicks?

ChickenGirl300

Crowing
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Jun 16, 2019
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Hi, we have a broody hen and are planning on getting her some eggs to hatch. She is Head Hen, the chicken in charge of our four hen flock. I know some people separate their broodies and others don't. I doubt she would have any problems or interference from the other hens, with her position and the fact that it is a small, relatively peaceful flock. Usually we have 2-3 eggs in the nesting boxes, but today there were none which shows she is capable of keeping the other chickens away if need be. So I'm wondering if it's necessary to separate, or if I should keep them together. Would it make it easier for them to integrate into the flock if they were raised around the others? And if I did separate, could they still sleep in the coop?
 

Blue Raptor

Dragon 🐉 Artist
Feb 20, 2021
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Hi, we have a broody hen and are planning on getting her some eggs to hatch. She is Head Hen, the chicken in charge of our four hen flock. I know some people separate their broodies and others don't. I doubt she would have any problems or interference from the other hens, with her position and the fact that it is a small, relatively peaceful flock. Usually we have 2-3 eggs in the nesting boxes, but today there were none which shows she is capable of keeping the other chickens away if need be. So I'm wondering if it's necessary to separate, or if I should keep them together. Would it make it easier for them to integrate into the flock if they were raised around the others? And if I did separate, could they still sleep in the coop?
Separate her while she is sitting, because others will try to sit on/lay on her clutch if they are out. We used a big dog cage with a nesting box (dresser drawer) in it. After they hatch, let they join the flock, the mamma will keep the others at bay.
 

sweaterthebroodyrooster

Don’t take the little things for granted
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May 28, 2021
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Yes, separate her. Even if she can fight off the other hens you run the risk of an egg getting broke in the fight, or one of the hens could be hurt. I have also found that when the broody is left with the flock, she is more likely to break. Also, you have to make sure she is leaving the nest once a day to eat, drink, and poop. If she's left in with the flock it will be much harder to check those things.
 

K0k0shka

Free Ranging
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Jul 24, 2019
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If she's top hen, she'll be fine. I'd leave her where she is. I just had a bottom hen hatch and raise chicks with the flock and she did great. You can add an extra nesting box somewhere far away from her box, for the other hens to lay in if they're afraid to go near her. If she's top and protective, this will take care of hens laying on top of her or breaking the eggs. If they have a separate place to lay, it will be less stressful to them, and will keep her eggs away from them. Still though, mark her eggs and check her daily to remove any eggs anybody else has snuck in.

I only separated my broody at lockdown, to avoid having the chicks trampled by the other hens (who kept laying in her box) as they were hatching, but I only separated her by putting chicken wire around her nest and her food and water. I didn't actually move her. After the chicks hatched, I removed the barrier and let them mix.

You don't need to move the hen off the nest to get her to eat. She knows what to do, let her be. Just make sure there's a separate feeder and waterer (can be a small one) right in front of her box at all times, so she doesn't have to go far to eat and drink. Have another feeder/waterer somewhere else for the rest of the flock.

It is MUCH easier to integrate chicks if the flock has been able to see them, and if the broody has had a chance to protect them and establish the rules with the other hens from the start.
 

agold23

Songster
May 25, 2021
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My broody hen was top of the ladder right after our rooster. She decided to nest in the corner behind the door, right by the food holder. We left her there as we trusted her judgement. I would not separate them if you trust that she is safe where she’s chosen her nest as I wouldn’t want to risk reintroducing her to the flock with the chicks. Since she is at the top of the flock, the other chickens will likely respect the hierarchy when she gets off the nest during brood and when the chicks hatch and she will protect them until she feels it’s time for them to go on their own (usually around 6/7 weeks). Trust your judgement as well, and if you truly think that she is better separated, separate her!
 

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