To move or not to move my broody hen...

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by mandamay28, Dec 29, 2016.

  1. mandamay28

    mandamay28 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 20, 2016
    I am using a 4 cube cubby for my nesting boxes. My broody who has 7 eggs in is the bottom left cubby. the other hens lay in the other 3 cubbies but I have found 1 or 2 unmarked eggs in my broody's box. I assume another lady went to lay while she was out eating. So my question is... do I relocate the broody and eggs? I could possibly isolate the 2 left cubbies and for her use only with a small space to get out of the nest but I would have to change the positioning of the cube shelf. If I moved it from one wall to the other within the coop would that upset her too much? I don't want her to stop sotting on the eggs. I paid good money for the eggs as we do not have a roo. I'd hate to waste money and not have chickies either :-(
     
  2. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    There are no easy answers to your questions, especially with expensive or precious eggs. You are dealing with behaviors and those just don’t come with guarantees.

    Anything you do can possibly cause her to break from being broody. People move broody hens all the time and are usually successful, but sometimes the hens break. Some people move them to other nests and enclosure in the coop, some to totally different buildings.

    I don’t know what your coop and nests look like. What you described is a way around the problem, build a cage around the opening with enough room for food, water, and maybe room to go poop. But I’ll take your word for it, you can’t see a way to do that without doing something drastic.

    I let my hens hatch with the flock all the time. It’s not unusual to find an unmarked egg in the nest. That might come from a hen laying an egg while she is off for her daily constitutional, sometimes the broody lets another hen share the nest with her to lay an egg, and on occasion a broody hen might go to another nest and carry an egg back. People I trust on this forum say they’ve seen a hen carry an egg like that. Mind-boggling isn’t it? But with living animals almost anything is possible.

    No matter what you do there are risks. Which ones are you most willing to take? The obvious one in isolating her is doing something to break her, but other things can happen, some whether you isolate her or not.

    I let my hens hatch with the flock all the time, I never isolate them. In all those years I’ve only had a problem one time with other flock members. Just as the hen’s eggs started to internal pip and the chicks started peeping inside the eggs another hen went broody. She tried to take over the nest and the two broody hens fought, damaging some of the eggs. Many people let two or more broody hens hatch eggs together and raise the chicks together and never have a problem. But this is a behavior that does not come with guarantees. I was unlucky.

    To me the biggest risk in a broody hen hatching with the flock is that the broody leaves her nest for her daily constitutional, another hen gets on the nest to lay an egg and is still there when the broody gets back. Most of the time that’s not a problem, my hens regularly share nests, broody or just laying eggs. But occasionally the broody gets confused and goes to the wrong nest. She does not relocate when the other hen vacates the nest.

    I’ve seen this a few times but I don’t think it’s ever cost me any chicks. I just toss the hen back on the right nest when I see her. One time the eggs were really cold to the touch but that hen still hatched 11 out of 11 eggs. I can’t deny that there is some risk here especially if you are having really cold weather or are gone all day.

    I’ve had broken eggs under a broody hen, also in nests where there is no broody hen. When a hen gets on and off the nest, she walks on the eggs. That’s both broody hens and hens there just to lay eggs. Practically always when I find a broken egg that egg shell is really thin. When this happens I don’t blame the hen, I blame the egg shell being too thin.

    Any egg I start to incubate, broody or incubator, becomes precious. Yours being expensive adds another dimension to it. If it were me with my personal experiences I’d leave the hen alone and check under her daily to remove any eggs that don’t belong. That’s what I do. But I’m not you and I cannot make those decisions for you. Good luck whichever way you go.
     

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