When to move Broody Hen?

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by krista74, Sep 17, 2014.

  1. krista74

    krista74 Songster

    Jun 4, 2014
    Victoria, Australia.
    Good morning all. I have a Broody Hen sitting on 8 eggs, and she is currently on Day 10.

    I gave her all of her eggs in one day, at which point she had already been sitting in her favourite nest box for 3 days on no eggs! It is the only nest out of 7 that she has ever used, and she is the only one that has used that nest at all.

    Anyway, when I gave her the eggs originally I tried to set her up in a separate pen. She went ballistic, banging her head on the roof, squawking, pacing and was really unhappy. She refused to sit on the eggs for a few hours so I let her out of the pen, at which point she ran straight back to her normal nest and hunkered down!

    I gave in to her at that point and gave her the eggs on her regular nest. The other girls have left her alone and she is happy.

    I, on the other hand, am worried! The nest is about 2 foot off the ground, so what should I do regarding hatch day?

    Should I move her at Day 18 when I re-candle, or is she likely to abandon her eggs if I do it then?

    Should I leave her to hatch them where she is happy in her favourite nest? I could put a board up on that nest to stop the chicks falling out but then she wouldn't be able to get out to eat, drink or poop either. It already has a fairly tight entrance.

    What should i do? Are the chicks likely to fall out of the nest? Or are they likely to get eaten by the other hens? So far none of the girls has paid any attention to her. As luck would have it she is scheduled to hatch on the two days I work, so I can't sit by her side to keep an eye on things on Hatch Day.

    - Krista
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2014
  2. centrarchid

    centrarchid Free Ranging

    Sep 19, 2009
    Holts Summit, Missouri

    Krista, I hen hatch nearly constantly from March to about now. Most hens are provided nests not unlike what you have provided your hen with. Currently your hen is imprinted on the nest location rather than the eggs. Just before pipping begins embryos will begin communicating with each other and their mother. At that point you may be able to get the hen to adopt a new location is eggs are moved there as well. She will at that point want to be with the chicks she is imprinting on. That being said, do not move her. Also leave her alone this go around as your handling is stressful which hurts chicks. Hatch day might be 36 hours long.

    Once chicks begin piping she will likely not come off nest again until entire brood moves off as well. At that time obstruct opening so chicks can not get out. Chicks will not be harmed by a fall of 2 feet even if on to concrete. Mine can handle 10 feet without problems from loft. They bounce.

    Allow her to come out for eats, drink and potty break through day 21. Other hens should be kept away from chicks. Adult roosters safer with chicks than other hens.

    Like to make so such hens with broods can keep away from other birds for at least the first few days if not a couple of weeks to prevent trampling of chicks as well as other complications.
  3. krista74

    krista74 Songster

    Jun 4, 2014
    Victoria, Australia.
    Thank you for taking the time to reply to me.

    I have a separate pen set up within the main coop which is secure, so once the chicks have all hatched we will move them all in to the new pen together at that point.

    I recently moved another Momma with her one chick outside into another pen and that went well, so I understand where you're coming from. If I move the chicks, Momma will come happily too!

    Thanks again,


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