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Surprise Broody Hen

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by D SCHWARTZ 26, Dec 18, 2016.

  1. D SCHWARTZ 26

    D SCHWARTZ 26 In the Brooder

    Nov 19, 2016
    Hello, so I had one of my hens go broody on me up in one of the nesting boxes; it took me awhile to realize and by the time I did I didnt want to move her cuz I was worried I would disturb the eggs. Half way through another of my hens went broody with her in the same nesting box. Just this morning we heard a peep come out of the nesting box.
    So here are my questions.
    1. do we move them into a seperate area so they are away from the other chickens and rooster?
    2. do we seperate the 2 broody hens or leave them to mother the chicks together?
    3. Could we move one hen with the chicks that have hatched and leave the other hen to stay sitting on the eggs that havent hatched yet?
    4. How long do I leave the hen on the unhatched eggs? I dont want the Hatched chicks to fall out of the box.
    5. How soon do the hatched chicks need food and water? and do I need to give them a heat lamp?
    Thanks in advance for any help.

  2. ChickenGrass

    ChickenGrass Songster

    Aug 16, 2015
    Republic of Ireland
    Hi there and :welcome

    I would move the chicks, eggs and broody hen to a separate area
    So the chicks don't get harmed by the other hens.
    I would seperate the two broody hens because they will be
    Stealing each others chicks.

    You could just move the hen with chicks and then give the
    Other broody hen the eggs that haven't hatched yet but make sure they
    Are still forming.

    I would move the hen ASAP from the coop with her chicks.
    As I said candle the eggs and then the ones that are forming
    Give them to the other broody if she can handle them or just move them
    With the hen with chicks

    When you move the hatched chicks with their mom give them in
    Water and some chick crumb.
    They don't need a heat lamp as the broody hen keeps them warm.

    You should have moved the broody hens as soon as you knew because they
    Will keep dragging other eggs in from the other hens
    Which means they might have eggs for 2 weeks and then they are adding more,
    Which means that if the ones they have for 2 weeks hatch they will usually abandon the
    Other eggs.

  3. Pyxis

    Pyxis Hatchi Wan Kenobi Premium Member

    Mar 27, 2012
    My Coop
    1. You do not need to separate the chicks and the hens from the rest of the birds if you know the mothers will protect them. If they're pretty high in the pecking order then they will have no trouble keeping their chicks safe. Even if they're lower two hens together should do well protecting their chicks. I almost never separate hens with chicks and I've never yet had another hen harm or kill chicks. They only really start paying attention to them once they are older, about four weeks old, and the older birds start asserting their dominance over them. This is usually a quick peck to the head to get them to move out of the way of food, etc.

    Separating them is fine too, and it has advantages and disadvantages which are all laid out in an article I will link you at the end of this post.

    2. You can leave the two hens together to raise the chicks together, they will co-mother them. I've had this happen twice and both times the hens handled it without a hitch. If you see any aggression from one hen towards certain chicks that's when you'd split them up but I really don't think you'll have this problem.

    3. You could do that as long as the hen that you want to leave doesn't break from brooding because she wants to take care of the chicks, and she very well might.

    4. I wouldn't do it for long. They're going to give up on the eggs to take care of the chicks in a day or so anyway so there's not much point in trying to leave them unless you try to do what you asked about above and see if one will stay on the eggs while the other cares for the chicks.

    5. Technically they don't need it until they are three days old, they have enough yolk to survive on until then, but the sooner the better. They need chick feed - they cannot eat layer feed. They don't need a heat lamp.

    Here is an article that will help you if this is your first time with broodies.
    Last edited: Dec 18, 2016
    2 people like this.
  4. cocker

    cocker Chirping

    Sep 14, 2016
    There are a number of things you could do you can take chicks at day old from both hens and reset both of them that would be the only way you would need a heat lamp. Or take one hen seperate her from the chicks and she will stop being broody or you can seperate one hen and her chicks and reset the other hen. But u have to rest the hen before she leaves the nest. A hen knows when its best to leave the nest and its usualy the day after they are all born she will then start teaching the chicks to eat and drink but a chick can survive up to 72 hours befor they need anything.
    Last edited: Dec 19, 2016
  5. rebrascora

    rebrascora Crowing

    Feb 14, 2014
    Consett Co.Durham. UK
    I agree with Pyxis. I leave my broody hens in with a large mixed flock including cockerels and roosters and have no problems, however I free range. If space is limited, then there is more chance of the chicks getting a hard time I think.

    Is there a chance of a staggered hatch? In other words, did you mark the eggs you set and remove any others that were laid into the nest on a daily basis or were eggs added to the nest by other hens during the incubation period and left in there? If all eggs are due to hatch together then I would leave both broodies to sort themselves out. You may find that they co brood the chicks or one of them steals all the chicks. The only concern would be if the nest area is small and the broodies are crammed in and at risk of standing on the chicks when they hatch and crushing them.
    If eggs were laid into the nest after the first broody started setting and there is going to be a staggered hatch, then I would give it a couple of days and then move the first broody and whatever chicks are hatched and hope that the other hen will continue to set the remaining eggs in the nest and maybe move any chicks that hatch soon after and graft onto the other broody once they are dry.

    I make a high lip around the nest so that chicks cannot fall out during the hatch process...this can be something as simple as a piece of heavy duty cardboard taped or stapled across the front of the nest box. It only needs to be in place for a couple of days, so doesn't need to be anything too high tech. I also put food and water within reach of the broody, particularly if it is going to be a staggered hatch and she will need to stay on longer than usual. Water needs to be in a shallow bowl with pebbles so that chicks cannot drown and chick crumb for both the broody and chicks. After a couple of days the broody will most likely want to get off the nest and start looking after her chicks. It is natural and healthy for her to leave that nest and brood them in a different location....this is because broody nests can become infested with mites and the hen needs to remove the chicks from that environment and find a clean place where they are safe.

    As stated by Pyxis, they can survive 3 days, but I make food and water available in the nest area during hatch, so that the broody is catered for and can start feeding chicks from the nest if she wishes.

    Good luck with your hatch.

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