Will broody hen starve to death?


6 Years
Apr 8, 2013
I have a hen how has been sitting on four eggs for two days now. I haven't seen her get off for anything all day. Earlier I poured a little layer feed into the corner of the nesting box for her and noticed tonight it was gone. Will she leave to eat and drink. I know they will but don't want this hen to kill her self for some eggs.
It can happen, but not usually. Usually they get up once a day for food and water, and a little exercise, which they really need, and to poop. You should find her "broody poop" after she get s off the nest; it is larger and stinkier than normal poops. They tend to get up when no one is around, probaby an instinct which in the wild helps keep their nest hidden.

If you pick her up and set her off the nest and it's not poopy, she has probably been up. It's not necessary to move food and water normally, if she is hatching in with the flock, since she needs that bit of exercise to go to it. As it is, they lose wieght and muscle tone when setting.
They make a mad dash to the food and water when they think no one is looking. You can supplement her with extra food and water if you want, but she would likely prefer that you left her alone. She knows what to do.
It's been a long battle with this girl. I have taken her off the nest everyday for a month to collect eggs. I'm sick of getting pecked and having her flare her feathers at me so I said screw it and left her on it yesterday. The only time I picked her up was to count and number the eggs. I usually hatch my own in the incubator put this new girl I added in July is hard set on doing it herself. I looked for this breed (white rock) locally for so long I would hate to lose her. I only have two of them.
It's rare that they'll starve themselves. I check their crop regularly and if it feels full, I leave them alone but if it empty I take them off of the nest and set them by the feeder. They'll usually eat and return to the nest. Just keep an eye on her but she should be fine.
As stated above, they like to be secretive about getting off the nest, so unless you are watching her every minute, you could have missed it. The problem with putting food and water near the nest so they don't have to get up is that they don't get up and get some exercise, and they could potentially poop in the nest, contaminating the eggs. Chickens have been hatching by themselves for thousands of years without human intervention. If broody hens starved to death on the nest, they'd all be extinct!

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