two maiden broodies with peeping eggs - what normally happens now!


11 Years
Jun 16, 2008
Lisbon, CT
OK, two maiden broodies are ready to hatch their two little EE/Silky eggs each. The eggs are peeping and I've read ALL the horror stories posted here. I have NO incubator. SO, when can I expect the show to start, and what can I expect.

1. all the chickens in the coop will put in a movie since the snacks have arrived?

2. The broody hens will throw a party and eat the chicks?

3. The broody hens will protect their little charges?

4. The flock will ignore the new arrivals - (I'm hopeful, but find this scenario unlikely).

5. I should take the chicks away after they hatch and do what I did the last time and raise them indoors until their feathers grow in and introduce them slowly into the flock?

thoughts? Opinions????
We put our broodies and chicks in cages in the chicken run. That way babies are safe but they can still see and "talk" to the adult birds.

As for how long, broody will let you know when she's done "raising" the chicks. She won't pay much attention to them, she'll almost stop clucking to them, she'll stop showing them food, and she'll pretty much ignore and try to get out of the cage back into the flock. Some hens will stay with their babies up to 8 weeks, but our last hen wanted out at 3 weeks old. Also, the hen will most likely start laying again, and this may signal stopping motherhood. But it all depends on your hen.

After mommy leaves the chicks (If they're younger than 8 weeks) you should leave the chicks in the cage. They need to grow bigger and stronger before having to "fight" for food and be chased and harassed by the older birds. I'd probably leave them separate until they either out grow the cage or are 12-15 weeks. I never really write down when I let them out, I just do, lol.
I section my broodies off in a little part of the coop, then start letting them come out to mingle (supervised of course) with the other chickens when the babies are about 2-3 weeks old. If the 2 broodies are brooding together you can put them in the same area.
But make sure they have enough room to feel comfortably secure. Some hens can be aggressive towards other hens' chicks. I've had trouble with mama hens together in too close of quarters, but when they have enough room to keep out of each other's way they do all right.
I have two brooder pens sectioned off in the coop. I put the broody moms and babies in them until the chicks are two weeks old. Then I start leaving the brooder pen door open so the mamas can start bringing the babies out. I let one mama/babies out (leave the pen door open) and then about 2 days later, I start leaving the other mama's pen door open. Mine seem to do better this way. I tried letting both broody mom's out with chicks at the same time and they fought unmercifully. Some people have no issue between broody moms, but I did, so I keep them separate with their babies for 2 weeks and then stagger when I start letting them take their babies out. This has worked for me so it's what I do now. For some reason, mine like to go broody in pairs!
OK - so far so good. Last night 3 of the 4 eggs were peeping. this morning those 3 eggs hatched out walnut sized sily/ee mixes. they are grey with black stripes. the broodies are still sitting on them. the little ones are all legs and very comfortable to be under mama. I let the girls out of the coop to leave the broodies alone. It's Friday, so I have to work. BUT, I like the idea of sectioning off the broody families so that they don't have to compete. Some questions:

1. when will the chicks eat chick starter?
2. Will the broody hens finally get off the nest to eat their food?
3. can I build the pens around the nest sites they have chosen, or can you move the nests around without causing problems???
The chicks might take a day or 2 before they start eating starter. Momma will usually sit for another 24-48 hrs after the chicks hatch and will then abandon the nest. Once momma is done sitting you can move them, or you can just build around them.
This is my first experience with broodies attempting to hatch out eggs for me, so I went the extra safe route and built them each their own little broody hutch. Here's the one for the tiny little Silkie sitting on 5 duck eggs, which are due to start hatching tomorrow...YAY!

It's about 18 inches wide and 3 feet long, so it won't hold her and her brood for long, but it gives her a space of her own for the duration.

Here's the other larger broody hutch I made that might transition into a duck pen or a brooder grow-out pen for the teenage chickens:


I don't remember the dimensions on the larger one, but I think its about 3 feet by 4 feet, and maybe 4 feet tall. I put in three entrances (1 to the nest box, one below the nest box to access feeders, and the end opposite the nest box comes completely open for catching chicks, hen or ducklings, as the case may be.

Hope these help!

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