Tips for Hatching with a Broody Hen?

katelk

Songster
6 Years
May 6, 2013
412
10
111
White Bluff, TN
I have been wanting to buy an incubator and have been researching and planning a hatch for awhile.
Today, however, I go out to collect eggs and find one of my young buff orps sitting hard on 3 eggs. She would not budge from the nest and bit me when I reached anywhere near her. She was spread out in the box over the eggs like a chicken pancake. When I moved her away, she fluffed up and held her wings out and was making very unhappy noises. I have never had a broody hen before, but all I can figure is this odd behavior is broodiness.
SO I am wondering if I should use this opportunity to bypass an incubator. This is going to be my first hatch and I had not even considered using a hen before this (as I had no broodies).
So I have now done no research on this method and do not want to jump into anything.
Can anyone tell me the basics of hatching with a hen and anything I should be wary of? I know I will need to make her a more private nest.
Any advice will be greatly appreciated!
 

GD91

Songster
6 Years
Aug 1, 2013
504
38
118
UK
(Snort)

Your story sounds similar to mine.

Spent 2 months watching for my Pekin bantam to go broody.

Gave up.

Spent 4 days building a DIY incubator. Finished it, put the eggs in.,,,,

Got everything just right......

Turn around & my hen has gone broody
Now she's got the "on day 3" eggs.




These chickens really know where to kick when your down
 

CindaLouWho

Chirping
5 Years
Feb 19, 2014
159
12
91
Hesperia, CA
I am on the tail end of what you're just beginning. I'm a total newbie at this , and everything that could have gone wrong, DID.
One hen went broody, gave her 4 eggs. She hoarded two more when everyone started laying in her nest so I marked all 6. Removed new eggs each day. THEN, two more hens went broody and all INSIST on sharing the best box. Ended up crushing and killing a tot of three eggs to date.
Now I've locked all chickens out of the box so she can have her nest to hopefully hatch the remaining three eggs. Today is day 21.

My advice is to separate her immediately from the flock. Provide a source of food and water for her and let her do her thing. If other hens have access to her nest, you run the risks of crushing and what I dealt with.
At first I was like oh. Let nature take it's course.... But now I'm like " MY BABIES!"

LOL.

good luck to you. Keep me posted! I'd love to hear how things turn out for you.
 

azelgin

Songster
12 Years
Jan 18, 2008
1,277
50
193
S.E. AZ
I have been wanting to buy an incubator and have been researching and planning a hatch for awhile.
Today, however, I go out to collect eggs and find one of my young buff orps sitting hard on 3 eggs. She would not budge from the nest and bit me when I reached anywhere near her. She was spread out in the box over the eggs like a chicken pancake. When I moved her away, she fluffed up and held her wings out and was making very unhappy noises. I have never had a broody hen before, but all I can figure is this odd behavior is broodiness.
SO I am wondering if I should use this opportunity to bypass an incubator. This is going to be my first hatch and I had not even considered using a hen before this (as I had no broodies).
So I have now done no research on this method and do not want to jump into anything.
Can anyone tell me the basics of hatching with a hen and anything I should be wary of? I know I will need to make her a more private nest.
Any advice will be greatly appreciated!
When you say "I know I will need to make her a more private nest", are you planning on moving her? She won't like that. There are ways to do it, but it doesn't always work. If, you are planning to move her, I moved four this year and have had good luck. So far, 4/4. I won't go into details, until I hear that you want to move her.
 

heartsizedfarm

Songster
5 Years
Feb 24, 2014
1,634
182
168
Cambridge, Ontario, Canada
I used a dog kennel with plywood walls as a separate space for my broody hen. You can see it in the background of the photo. That way she could be with the rest of the flock in the coop at night, but they couldn't get at the eggs or chicks.

 

katelk

Songster
6 Years
May 6, 2013
412
10
111
White Bluff, TN
I am on the tail end of what you're just beginning. I'm a total newbie at this , and everything that could have gone wrong, DID.
One hen went broody, gave her 4 eggs. She hoarded two more when everyone started laying in her nest so I marked all 6. Removed new eggs each day. THEN, two more hens went broody and all INSIST on sharing the best box. Ended up crushing and killing a tot of three eggs to date.
Now I've locked all chickens out of the box so she can have her nest to hopefully hatch the remaining three eggs. Today is day 21.

My advice is to separate her immediately from the flock. Provide a source of food and water for her and let her do her thing. If other hens have access to her nest, you run the risks of crushing and what I dealt with.
At first I was like oh. Let nature take it's course.... But now I'm like " MY BABIES!"

LOL.

good luck to you. Keep me posted! I'd love to hear how things turn out for you.

Hahaha I will probably end up the same way lol.

I am definitely going to make her a "maternity ward". I will keep you updated!
Are you going to let her raise what she hatches or use a brooder?
 

katelk

Songster
6 Years
May 6, 2013
412
10
111
White Bluff, TN
When you say "I know I will need to make her a more private nest", are you planning on moving her?  She won't like that. There are ways to do it, but it doesn't always work.  If, you are planning to move her, I moved four this year and have had good luck.  So far, 4/4.  I won't go into details, until I hear that you want to move her.

I will definitely have to move her. The nest she locked onto is a high traffic nest way too far off the ground for a hatch. I want to make her a private area so the other hens don't bother her or anything.
 

heartsizedfarm

Songster
5 Years
Feb 24, 2014
1,634
182
168
Cambridge, Ontario, Canada
Hahaha I will probably end up the same way lol.

I am definitely going to make her a "maternity ward". I will keep you updated!
Are you going to let her raise what she hatches or use a brooder?

SO much easier to let her raise what she hatches. She warms them, teaches them, protects them, socializes them, entertains them much better than we could do.
 

azelgin

Songster
12 Years
Jan 18, 2008
1,277
50
193
S.E. AZ
I will definitely have to move her. The nest she locked onto is a high traffic nest way too far off the ground for a hatch. I want to make her a private area so the other hens don't bother her or anything.
Ok, this is what has worked for me. First, she has to be what I call "Realllly broody". If, it take her off the nest and she runs off, she's not ready. At this stage, I take away any eggs and give her golf balls. This is usually the case, for the first week. I don't want the eggs developing and have her quit, when I move her. If, I take her of the nest, and she sits on the floor, without making a big fuss, she's the kind I have good luck with. This is usually about halfway into the 2nd week.
I have other nests, in a far corner of the coop, than can be partitioned off from the rest of the flock. Is set up with it's own feeder and water. I close off all but one of these nests. I move her at night, give her the golf balls, screen off the front of the nest, so she can't get out. Don't worry about her needing food and water right away. The last one I moved didn't leave the nest for three days, even when she could.
After one night and the following day, I remove the screen barrier, just at dark. If she is still on the nest the next morning and sets till dark, then I give her the eggs I want her to hatch, that night.
You have to make sure she can't go sit in another nest. A hardcore broody will try to hatch air and the doesn't care which nest it is.
I think a dog kennel in a dark place would probably work just as well, but I have things set up at my place that makes it easy for me.
She may make a fuss and protest, but all the successful ones will settle down in an few minutes. Even if she seems like she's not going anywhere right away, don't be fooled and still keep her locked up for a day. Released too soon and they hop of the nest for a drink and try to find a way back to the old nest. They pace the fence and panic.
 
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