Vicarious First-Time Mama worries!


11 Years
May 10, 2009
Hi all,
I put eight fertile eggs under my broody hen four days ago and am wondering if what we are observing is typical for a setting hen. She's completely still and spread out like a big floppy sack of chicken over the eggs - very Zen - but we never see her get up to turn them at all, we have not yet seen her get up for a drink or food (and its been up to 90F in the last few days, she's panting). I found one blob of poop in the fresh shavings that indicated that she has been off the next at least once, but it also seems like there may be some droppings inside the covered litter box we are using as her brooding nest. She is away from the rest of the flock, inside a temporary run we rigged up last year, with a "lean-to" shading the nest box and plenty of food and fresh water about a foot away from her nest.
Should we be worried about the fact that we never see her turning the eggs or getting a drink? Should we rouse her off her nest once in a while to check on what's going on beneath her, or just wait until the 10th day when I plan to candle the eggs? I swear, I'm as anxious about this hatching as I was about my first pregnancy! Words of reassurance or instruction welcome, here!


8 Years
Oct 7, 2011
I am sort of in the same situation as you. I am leaning towards letting my hen do things her way. I don't even want to lock her in anymore because I am afraid she will want out when I am not there. I haven't seen her off the nest in at least 2 days. She too is panting. I put a water bowl in the dog crate that is housing her right now. I have taken her off the nest twice in the last week, and turned the eggs, but I am starting to question my credentials, thinking perhaps momma knows better than I lol

I'm interested in the responses you receive because I was about to ask the same.


Rest in Peace 1980-2020
Premium Feather Member
8 Years
Jun 28, 2011
Broodies will get up if they need to drink. I'm guessing your hen got up while you weren't watching.
Especially with the food and water so close.
I had a broody sitting in a plastic barrel once and we often heard her roll the eggs around under her. They know what to do.
I have two sitting at the moment. The first's eggs are due to hatch day after tomorrow and the other one 4 days after. Up 'till today both got up once a day to run around a bit, have a drink, some food and a quick dust bath. I'm not expecting the first broody to get up again until her chicks hatched. What I usually do is provide some water and a little food while they're "in lockdown" especially when it's hot.
They usually store up poop and drop a huge one once they get up.
Your hen is behaving like a typical broody. Going into a trance-like state. Guess it can get a bit boring sitting staring at nothing for 3 weeks! Don't worry about her, let nature take it's course.

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