Using broody hen to hatch eggs

Peckeruk

In the Brooder
Apr 12, 2019
22
8
26
Hi all
Just looking for some advice. I'm wanting to use my broody hen to raise chicks. She is currently set on a clutch of infertile eggs which I am going to swap for fertile eggs tomorrow. I'm wanting to leave her in the coop to raise the chicks. They are only 3 hens in the coop which are all docile, so I'm going to take the risk of introducing chicks. This is my setup, any advice on Where would be the best place to put the chick food and water? And would my setup work, also concerned about the ramp up to the coop and the drop from the nesting box.
Thanks in advance for the replies.
 

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ChickenCanoe

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What is the distance from the nest box to the floor?
The ramp, while high, looks like it may work. The run looks predator proof. If it is and she can't entice the chicks to walk back up the ramp, she'll sleep outside with them.
Don't worry about the other hens, the broody won't allow them to harm the chicks. By the time she weans them, they will have been accepted as members of the flock.
How long has she been broody?
 

DobieLover

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In the first day or 2 after hatch, it doesn't take much of a drop from the nest box to kill a chick. Not because of the drop but because it can't get back under it's mother to stay warm and prevent hypothermia if she is still on the nest hatching late eggs.
How large is that coop? It doesn't look big enough to house many more chickens.
Do you have a plan for the cockerels?
I agree with @ChickenCanoe. Your run appears to be predator proof and I think I see a polycarbonate roof over it? If that is the case, I would move her to a secure, dry place in the run now before you give her fertile eggs. Graft her to the new site. Once she reliably returns to that nest, then give her the marked fertile eggs and let her set. Her nesting on the ground is ideal as she can form the nest to fit her body and and the moisture from the ground will help regulate the humidity.
 

Peckeruk

In the Brooder
Apr 12, 2019
22
8
26
What is the distance from the nest box to the floor?
The ramp, while high, looks like it may work. The run looks predator proof. If it is and she can't entice the chicks to walk back up the ramp, she'll sleep outside with them.
Don't worry about the other hens, the broody won't allow them to harm the chicks. By the time she weans them, they will have been accepted as members of the flock.
How long has she been broody?
The nesting box is about 6 inches from the floor. The coop is made from welded mesh and dug down just over a foot so I'm not worried about predators.
She has been broody for about 2 days now only leaving the eggs for about 30mins a day.
 

Peckeruk

In the Brooder
Apr 12, 2019
22
8
26
In the first day or 2 after hatch, it doesn't take much of a drop from the nest box to kill a chick. Not because of the drop but because it can't get back under it's mother to stay warm and prevent hypothermia if she is still on the nest hatching late eggs.
How large is that coop? It doesn't look big enough to house many more chickens.
Do you have a plan for the cockerels?
I agree with @ChickenCanoe. Your run appears to be predator proof and I think I see a polycarbonate roof over it? If that is the case, I would move her to a secure, dry place in the run now before you give her fertile eggs. Graft her to the new site. Once she reliably returns to that nest, then give her the marked fertile eggs and let her set. Her nesting on the ground is ideal as she can form the nest to fit her body and and the moisture from the ground will help regulate the humidity.
Yes part half of the run is covered. The coop is for 6 birds, so it said when I bought it. I would only be happy with 4 hens in there though. The fertile eggs I'm using are bantam eggs and I'm planning on keeping one or two of them. The school I work at have a flock of 25 chickens. If more than 2 hatch then the other chickens or cockerel will move there.
 

ChickenCanoe

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The nesting box is about 6 inches from the floor. The coop is made from welded mesh and dug down just over a foot so I'm not worried about predators.
She has been broody for about 2 days now only leaving the eggs for about 30mins a day.
6 inches shouldn't be a problem at all. I've had hens hatch chicks in nests that were 18" above the floor (more recent coop builds have them a bit lower) and not only did the chicks get out just fine but they had no problem getting back in either.
I remember the first time chicks hatched in there, I started building a ramp for them to get back up after they hopped out. When I got it done and went to install it, the chicks had already gotten back into the nest on their own.
They just aren't that fragile.
 

DobieLover

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Yes part half of the run is covered. The coop is for 6 birds, so it said when I bought it. I would only be happy with 4 hens in there though. The fertile eggs I'm using are bantam eggs and I'm planning on keeping one or two of them. The school I work at have a flock of 25 chickens. If more than 2 hatch then the other chickens or cockerel will move there.
How large is the coop? Just because some manufacturer claims it can house 6 birds doesn't mean it actually should. I'm 99% certain it shouldn't.
 

ChickenCanoe

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Well said. The manufacturers know nothing about chickens and do their customers and the customer's chickens a huge disservice by overstating capacity. Worse yet, they may kill chickens by their lack of knowledge of what chickens need to be healthy.
 

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