Should we move our broody hen before or after the chicks hatch?

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by hoosierhens101, Mar 17, 2019 at 7:55 AM.

  1. hoosierhens101

    hoosierhens101 Chirping

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    First time letting our broody set on eggs. We are on day 8!! She is up in a nest box about 18 inches off the floor. She is the last box by the wall in the picture. 127.jpg I am concerned about moving her before they hatch. Is it okay to put a screen over the front of the box on hatch day and then move them once they are all hatched? Or give the nest box a higher front lip so the chicks don't fall out while they are all hatching? Does the broody not get off the nest the last few days? Any advice will be appreciated. I have a dog crate and separate area for mom and chicks to go.
     
  2. Spartan22

    Spartan22 Crowing

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    I say move her @night prepare the new site,then add the eggs under her while completely dark (I use a little red LED ring finger light) minimal light and little invasive. During the lockdown last 3 days she will neither eat/drink or move out of the nest since the chicks will position for hatching it is best to give her some water close by and some food since she will be loosing a lot of weight.
    It is safe to have her semi segregated, to prevent any commotions with other hens who wanted to use the nest that might cause fights.
    I had a casualty last spring when I didn’t move the broody right away, resulted to 2 newly hatched chicks got killed by accident when another hen tried to get in the nest and the invading pullet got killed since she was fiercely pecked by protective mom and got squashed on top of nest divider.
    I use a can see each other but no access for couple of days at least until she’s ready to introduce her chicks safely to the flock.

    A0C2F840-F33C-4555-987D-54A293C82BEE.jpeg 9224E680-A071-4974-BB08-31F8D3D598E7.png
     
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  3. sylviethecochin

    sylviethecochin Free Ranging

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    I myself move the hen after the hatch, if I can help it--much less risk of her rejecting the nest that way. I've found that a piece of wood glued (or taped, or nailed) to the front to make a higher lip was sufficient to keep the chicks in until the eggs have hatched.
     
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  4. hoosierhens101

    hoosierhens101 Chirping

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    Thank you . Great advice.
     
  5. hoosierhens101

    hoosierhens101 Chirping

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    Thank you . Great advice.
     
  6. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Free Ranging

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    She is up in a nest box about 18 inches off the floor.

    I've seen a broody hen get chicks out of a 10' high hay loft. She said jump and they did, then bounced up and ran to her. Your 18" of the floor doesn't concern me from that aspect.

    My broodies regularly hatch in nests 2 to 4 feet above the coop floor. I'e only had one time that a chick fell to the floor before the hen told them to jump. That nest was a cat litter bucket (not bin) that had a 7-1/2" x 11-1/2 top opening. The early baby chicks were crawling up on her back. When they fell off they missed the nest because she was too close to the edge. I put chicks back in her nest 4 times before she finally brought them off. I retired that nest after the hatch. Never again.

    Since you are dealing with living animals anything can happen but I would not be concerned with chicks falling to the floor from what I can see of your nest. You can put a higher lip if you wish but I've seen baby chicks jump several inches within a day of hatching.

    Is it okay to put a screen over the front of the box on hatch day and then move them once they are all hatched?

    The problem is knowing when hatch day really is. I've had broody hens start the hatch two full days early and be complete and bring the chicks off the nest within 24 hours of the first chick hatching. I've had broody hen hatches drag on for over two full days, with her not bringing them off until well into the third day. Some people have posted that their broody hens had hatched a couple of day late. If you are going to do this have it ready in case you need it early.

    Does the broody not get off the nest the last few days?

    What typically happens is that the chicks start chirping inside the egg after internal pip. That way the hen knows they are soon hatching. There are always exceptions to what anybody says on here, but the broody typically does not leave the nest until she leads the chicks off after the hatch. She typically does not eat, drink, or poop during this time.

    I am concerned about moving her before they hatch.

    There are risks whether she hatches with the flock or in isolation. You can't avoid risks with living animals. I let my broodies hatch with the flock but occasionally I move one to a different nest. The biggest risk of moving a broody is that she rejects the new nest and breaks from being broody. Many people move broodies a lot and don't have big issues. Some broody hens are easy to move, some really resist. If you do move her I suggest going to a bit of an extreme. Prepare the area so her new nest is fairly dark. Dark seems to help them settle. Move her at night using as little light and commotion as possible. I leave my broody hens locked on the nest where they cannot get off in a really dark nest for the full day after I move them. That is not cruel, they are used to sitting on the nest, not eating or drinking for that time period, and holding their poop. It will not hurt them. Make very sure the hen cannot go back to her old nest or she will probably not accept her new one.

    One risk in isolating a broody for hatch or afterwards to raise her chicks is that the chicks can escape the enclosure and the broody hen cannot follow them to protect them. Make sure the wire mesh openings or any other openings as small enough to contain the chicks.

    Good luck a welcome to the hatching adventure. It will be nerve-wrenching and stressful but should also be a great experience.
     
  7. hoosierhens101

    hoosierhens101 Chirping

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    Thank you for all your wonderful advice
     
  8. hoosierhens101

    hoosierhens101 Chirping

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    Thank you!!
     
  9. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler!

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    Not really applicable to this situation but....
    ....I move em before giving fresh fertile eggs.

    I put her in the broody enclosure with fake eggs in the floor nest, she won't like being moved, but if she is truly good and broody she will settle onto the new nest within a half a day.
    Then I give her fresh fertile eggs and mark the calendar.

    I like them separated by wire from the flock, it's just easier all around.
    No having to mark eggs and remove any additions daily, no taking up a laying nest, no going back to the wrong nest after the daily constitutional.
     

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