Using Broody Hens to Hatch Eggs?

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by Blue_Myst, Apr 24, 2009.

  1. Blue_Myst

    Blue_Myst Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 5, 2009
    Since I've found that I probably have a rooster in this year's batch of chicks, I'm already thinking ahead [​IMG]

    I just have a few questions about hatching eggs the 'natural' way:

    I have an older hen that goes broody 3 or 4 times a year, give or take, but she's really aggressive on the nest (growls at me and tries to tear my hand off if I dare to touch her or her precious eggs). Is this a good or bad sign that she'll be a good mother?

    I know I need to keep her separate in a dog kennel or something, but are any 'special' conditions (relative temperature, humidity, etc.) required?

    If I want to separate the chicks from her, when is the best time to do it? Right before the eggs hatch, or after they hatch? What is the best way to do this without totally freaking her out?

    Thanks for any advice you can give! [​IMG]
     
  2. Julie08

    Julie08 Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 19, 2008
    Ontario, Canada
    Thats perfectly normal, Im not sure if its a good or a bad sign or any sign really. I haven't seen a broody that doesn't bite.
     
  3. B. Saffles Farms

    B. Saffles Farms Mr. Yappy Chickenizer

    Nov 23, 2008
    Madisonville, TN
    That is a good sign that she will be a very protective mom. Just leave her alone and she will take care of the rest. No need to worry about temp and humidity. If you are gonna take the chicks away I would do it after they hatch and she brings them off the nest. Good luck.
     
  4. Biddieacres

    Biddieacres Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 31, 2008
    I have a broody now and she puffs up and makes a low sound but hasn't bit me. I am new to this though. I am going to attempt to move her and the nest this weekend down to the floor of the coop.
     
  5. ecajean

    ecajean Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 24, 2008
    Foothills of CA
    When I pulled the chicks off mama, I waited until they were dry and fluffy. Then I put a light cloth over mama's head and lifted her up and pulled chicks. I wouldn't wait until she is off her nest, I think they would be hard to wrangle once on the ground!
     
  6. Biddieacres

    Biddieacres Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 31, 2008
    Should mama be left alone even though she is up high on the eggs? --edited to say.....sorry misread your post.
     
    Last edited: Apr 24, 2009
  7. Blue_Myst

    Blue_Myst Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 5, 2009
    Thanks for the fast replies, everyone! [​IMG] Considering how expensive incubators can get, I wanted to try the broody method first!
     
  8. Blue_Myst

    Blue_Myst Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 5, 2009
    Should mama be left alone even though she is up high on the eggs?

    How high up is 'high up'? I don't think it would be a problem unless there is no way of stopping the eggs from rolling out of the nest and falling. After they hatch, though...it would probably be a problem.​
     
  9. Biddieacres

    Biddieacres Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 31, 2008
    Quote:I am not an expert, but I wouldn't separate before they hatch. She may want to take care of them after they hatch. Do you want to separate them because you are afraid she may hurt them?

    I was told there is no need for special temp conditions because Mama will keep them warm and no worries on humidity. But I am still learning.
     
    Last edited: Apr 24, 2009
  10. JennyRobertson

    JennyRobertson New Egg

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    Jan 5, 2009
    Los Altos, CA
    Quote:I'm just getting ready to try using a broody hen to hatch some eggs, and I didn't know I needed to keep her in some sort of separate area. Why is that? She's glued to the nest box.

    I have some other questions, too:

    - How many eggs is reasonable to put under her? I have about 18, which is way more chicks than I want. But, not wanting to count them before they're hatched, I'd like to put an optimal number for a good hatch rate.

    - My nest box is 12" square, with a 4" lip to keep the straw inside. It's set up off the ground by about a foot. Should I put it directly on the ground before I put the eggs in? I don't want the chicks falling out and hurting themselves!

    - Where are the chicks going to sleep? Do they get under the mom again? I've done my other chick-raising in a rabbit cage.

    I know chickens are very hearty, and hatch chicks in the wild, so I don't want to fuss excessively over this. But, I don't want to make any silly mistakes, either.

    Thanks!
    Jenny
     

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