Will my hen stay broody if I remove her from her nest?

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Today I foud a hen on her nest in an old shed we store lumber in. I thought I'd lost this hen weeks ago, so I know she's broody and staying on this nest. The trouble is I know there are rats in that shed (big mostly open lumber storage area) and I smell a skunk every night. I'm afraid something will get her, and as I only have five laying hens right now, I really want to protect her. I understand that I can't move her and the eggs to the henhouse, right? She'll quit brooding those eggs, I think I've read. But is it likely she'll start saving up eggs for another clutch? If I pen her up can I put other eggs under her? I've never had a broody hen before and want to let her hatch out eggs--I'm just afraid for her and the chicks if I leave her where she is. Of course she's already been there safe and sound for about two weeks! What should I do?

-- Elizabeth in E TX (kimprice@peoplescom.net), March 23, 2002


I'd try to protect her where she is now and not move or disturb her and if necessary, get rid of the skunk.

-- BC (desertdweller44@yahoo.com), March 23, 2002.

Her eggs are halfway ready to hatch at this point. They only take 21 days. Move her and the whole nest (& eggs) to a safe place, and lock her in there for a few days. She should adjust and finish setting without too much trouble.

-- Shannon at Grateful Acres Animal Sanctuary (gratacres@aol.com), March 23, 2002.

Move everything the hen, eggs and nest at NIGHT. I would move her to a separate pen (not the hen house) and IF possible Reduce the amount of light she gets on the day after the move. She'll be less active if it isn't as bright and less likely to freak out. Put water & food close by for her.

I wouldn't move her into the hen house for a couple of reasons. It would be more stressful for her, the other hens might attack the eggs or the newly hatched chicks and most coops have the nests off the ground which makes it impossible for the chicks to get down safely.

A seperate pen with the nest in the dog house is great. Having this set up inside a barn is even better if your weather is bad.

-- Margarete (forpippin@earthlink.net), March 23, 2002.

You're thinking on the right track about being concerned for her & chicks safety. What's worked for me that is ideal is putting broody hen and eggs in a rabbit size breeder cage (or some other similar cage). it's actually nice to have the broody in your chicken coop (separated, of course) so that when her chicks hatch your flock gets used to the babies right off the bat. If you don't have a cage, is there some way you can rig up some sort of temporary pen using a corner of the coop? just make sure baby chicks won't be able to slip through whatever wire you're using.

So, yes, personally i would move her into the safety of your chicken coop in a separate cage (and she'll be less likely to throw a fit if you do this at night).

Good luck with those babies; get your camera ready!!

-- Buk (bukabuk@hotmail.com), March 23, 2002.

I do have a small pen and a 2'X4' moveable coop that I could put her in, and I will move her tonight. It'll be nice and dark in there and maybe she'll not freak out, but in any case I'd rather be sure she is safe, even if it means she abandons her clutch. Thank you all for the advice and encouragement!!

-- Elizabeth in E TX (kimprice@peoplescom.net), March 23, 2002.

Oh, wonderful that you have a pen you can put her in. you're like me about being so concerned for their safety. all my chickens roost in secure pens at night; even count them to make sure everyone is tucked in safely. LOL

I bet she'll make the move fine. good luck and let us know how it goes!

-- Buk (bukabuk@hotmail.com), March 23, 2002.

I just moved a broody silkie hen from the chicken run to a rabbit cage in the adjoining pen. She has been trying to sit for a few days and the other hens, all bigger than she, would try to root her out of their favorite nest to lay. I love to have new babies here, but I didn't want all my eggs being mixed up in there with her. I put her in the pen first and then moved the nesting box. I hardly had the cage door closed before she was back in the nest. This is my first silkie to set and I have heard that they make really good mothers.

-- Debbie in S IL (dc1253@hcis.net), March 23, 2002.

I've been trying to move a broody myself this week. It's always best if they have a safe, separate place. I will tell you that some hens will move with no trouble(at night, of course), and others will just go crazy. After trying and failing earlier in the week with my girl, I took the advice of putting a box(with air holes of course) over her nest for awhile, and she settled down on it.

As close as you are to the hatch, I'd be inclined to wait until the last minute to make the move.

-- mary (mlg@mlg.com), March 23, 2002.

I moved her! Put her in a box while I put the eggs in a basket. There were 15, plus one recently broken. I removed two so she has just a dozen to sit on, and upon cracking the two, I found they were either just recently laid, or infertile. At any rate they didn't smell bad. I put henny penny back on her eggs in the new location and just walked off so as not to disturb her any more. I think she must have just started to set, so I'm glad I did move her. Whatever happens to the eggs now, at least she is safe.

By the way, I said she'd been missing nearly two weeks. It turns out that was a different hen; I found that one today under the henhouse with a hurt leg. She had been attacked by a dog and disappeared the next day, so I thought she must have died. She is in a pen of her own now too, and I think she'll recover. Poor thing had broken eggs stuck to her, and feces, but she'd been able to groom her back and sides, just not underneath. She drank and drank and drank when I gave her water!

-- Elizabeth in E TX (kimprice@peoplescom.net), March 23, 2002.

Here is a sure fire method for moving a broody hen to a safe pen. I keep a couple 2x4 kennels handy for "hatching pens." I read this box method on the Poultry Connection and have used it sucessfuly many time now. I use a single box and just pre-cut the side and flap off before putting hen in box. Tape lid shut.

HERE THE METHOD Hen goes broody for few days in normal nest boxes. Might move around a few times but stay there most of the day and all night. Bring home from work or store two cardboard boxes that fit one inside the other. Cut holes in sides for air and light. Place bedding material in smaller box with hen. I place "fresh eggs" (which I have been collecting from other hens) under the broody hen in the box. Place second box over first box for 24 hours. Remove top box and she should stay there in safe pen away from other birds.

Try it. BossNass

-- BossNass (chrisnass@hotmail.com), March 23, 2002.

I forgot to say.

During the move feed old eggs from under hen to the dogs.

Plan 21 days from moving day to hatch. This is very handy for planning for baby chicks in nearby brooder pen.

Make sure hen has food and water and at least enough room to move around in the safe pen.

-- BossNass (chrisnass@hotmail.com), March 23, 2002.

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