what to do with my broody hen

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Hello, I've only had chickens for about 1 yr. now-no prior experience with them.Well one of my hens has managed to accumulate a clutch for herself and is tending them quite faithfully.The problem lies in the fact that she is in the favorite nest of my other hens who now cluck around most miserably when they need to lay.I really don't want to throw her eggs out-that seems sorta cruel to me.Can I move her eggs to another nest or will she abandon them?Is it safe for her to hatch out chicks where the other hens and my rather mean and nasty rooster, King Farook,are?I really need some advice.Oh,by the way I only have 7 hens at this moment.(lost our favorite little gal to a weasel last year and 2 others just got sick and died despite our best efforts...) Thanks and God's richest blessings on you all~Tracy

-- Tracy Jo Neff (tntneff@ifriendly.com), June 04, 2000


well, you'll find that you'll probably get both answers but first, have you tried making another nest that the hens may be interested in? I did that with mine. In fact, I put a fluffy pile of hay in a corner on the ground and they ended up using that instead of the nesting box mounted on the wall. To tell you the truth, the one on the floor has stayed poop free compared to the mounted nest. I'd say try that first and see what happens. Hens can be very determined!

-- Pat (pmikul@pcpros.net), June 04, 2000.

Tracy: Had this exact problem a couple months ago. At night, I moved the eggs, carefully, one at a time from under the hen, keeping them on the same side she had them, then put them one by one into the new nest. After all the eggs were moved, I picked up the hen(she wasn't happy about any of this, by the way, and let me know it!)and moved her over to the nest in the other side of the chicken house. I put a wire "cage" around her, to prevent the other hens from picking on her, put a water bottle inside, and every day I put food inside. She didn't eat or drink much while setting, but it worked just fine. Good Luck! Jan

-- Jan (Janice12@aol.com), June 04, 2000.

My two hens that are the "sitters" can be downright vicious when they have eggs. Even at night, which is the way most people move them. Therefore I leave them where they are, but the hens that are on the same pecking order as them will go in the nest and lay new eggs.(Not a good thing) So what I do is wait till the hen gets up to eat and I mark with a nontoxic marker on each side of the egg. That way I know when a new egg is added. Every time she gets up to eat, which is usually at the evening feeding, I check and remove any unmarked eggs. And as for leaving the chicks, many people do, but I remove the chicks as soon as they are out from under her and put them in a brooder. I lose most of the chicks if I leave them in. There is a wonderful chicken message board. Just type "ameraserve" into your browser and you will see it. Good luck.

-- Jill Faerber (lance1_86404@yahoo.com), June 04, 2000.

We always put a board in front of a nest box, leaving enough space for light and air to get through and then put a dish of grain and a dish of water in. Also, I can never get our hens to set. Perhaps it is the breed; Rhode Island Reds and Bardrocks.

-- Abigail F. (treeoflife@sws.nb.ca), June 05, 2000.

Been there. If you move the hen and not lock her in the new spot, she will start setting on the new eggs in the old nest. I too mark the new eggs. I found that I had several cluches by accident, what a waste.

It is true that making the other nest look more fluffy with hay and straw intices the hens.

I leave my babies with the mother because it is easier for them to be accepted into the hen house. I will sometimes put babies under mothers (at night) setting on Easter eggs (light colored) to get new chickens into my house.

-- Dee (gdgtur@goes.com), June 05, 2000.


Hello everyone and thanks for all the good advice so far! My husband set up a nice,big barracade so I could work w/out worrying about Farook(the mean rooster);He also kept guard for me.(I'm sorta scared of my rooster-yes definetly a wimp in regards to him!)Then my husband put up a partial partition in the coop.We took out the other nesting boxes and cleaned them up and lined them thickly with red cedar shavings.Then I took the eggs one by one from Dotty(our broody),candled them, cleaned yolk off of some,and placed them in one of the other nests which we took down.I tried to mark them all too(need to do a better job of that).Then, I picked her up while my husband switched nests.Lastly we settled her on her new nest,fed her and put her water dish in place,& put the old nest on the other side of the partition. She was a real gem of a chicken- a bit upset but still as gentle as ever! She was trying to sit(or set?which is proper?) on 20 eggs!I removed 6.Hope 14 isn't too much-she's a golden laced wyandotte. Took the eggs to the compost pile and broke them one by one- nothing going on in any save one(a little blood vessel webbing starting). Well, sorry this is so long. Could anyone please tell me if it will be dangerous for any chicks she may hatch to be in there with the other chickens?~` Tracy P.S. My kids(one age 4,other 19 mos.)were watching this whole escapade from their double stroller situated safely outside the chicken yard.We probably looked like clowns!I kept threatening ole Farook with my hoe saying "soup Farook,soup!CHICKEN NOODLE SOUP!"My daughter caught the implication even if he didn't. She said "BUT MOMMY,I Like Farook!"

-- Tracy Jo Neff (tntneff@ifriendly.com), June 05, 2000.

Tracy, it won't be dangerous for the babies to be in with the other chickens--or we have never had problems! But, when that first egg hatches--if the other eggs don't keep hatching right away, take the chick away, as mother hen will leave the nest with the one chick & leave the other eggs. When the other eggs hatch you can slip the other babies back under her at night & she will clain them all! I have always raised bantams, They LOVE TO SIT! They will sit on anything--that even looks like an egg! We always fixed a place at the bottom of the coop for mama hen & her babies--big straw nest. And we put extra quart watering jar for babies. And I use to put some oatmeal or other rolled milo, etc. for mama & babies. That is how we have always done it --Sonda in Ks.

-- Sonda (sgbruce@birch.net), June 06, 2000.

Hi, I use three bales of hey in the coop. Two I leave baled and the third I spead out. After about 6/9 months change themputting the old in compost or mulch in the garden. my birds are free range in the ozark national forest fo Arkansas.

-- Frank Meszaros (lostark555@yahoo.com), June 10, 2000.

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