broody hen support

Posted by: bettysheep

broody hen support - 04/18/12 08:40 AM

I am new to chickens. I have 19 chickens (4 roosters) and two of the hens have started sitting. THey are in the chicken coop in the nest boxes which are several feet off the floor. WHat happens when the chicks hatch? Will they need a little chicky ladder to get in and out. Should I move the hens to another place to do their sitting or will that upset them?
Posted by: Wieslaw

Re: broody hen support - 04/18/12 09:52 AM

You should absolutely move your hens to another place. You can read this thread
Posted by: Foehn

Re: broody hen support - 04/20/12 03:48 AM

First thing you should do is mark the eggs the hens are sitting on, that way if a laying hen adds to the nest, you can remove the fresh eggs. Then, find a cardboard box that will fit in the nest, cut out one side and when you lift off the hen for her daily "ablutions" carefully transfer her eggs and nesting material into the box. When she returns, she should still settle ok. Prepare a quiet place for her where it is semi dark, preferably her own coop. Something like a hutch is good as long as it's predator proof, and then as long as she's settled at night, pick up hen, box and all and move her to the secure coop, shutting her in. If she's at ground level now, she should be fine to leave sitting. Have her food and water where she has to get off the nest to seek it, that way she will poop as is necessary, away from the eggs. Do the same thing with the other hen if you want both to hatch eggs, but put her in a separate coop.
Posted by: bettysheep

Re: broody hen support - 04/20/12 02:10 PM

Oh my. I moved one sitting hen and her chicks to a new home. A shed all to herself with food and water and straw. I moved the clutch in the box they were laid in. ANd she wont have anything to do with the eggs now... What did I do wrong?
Posted by: Wieslaw

Re: broody hen support - 04/20/12 03:11 PM

I do not quite understand: did you move her with chicks or with eggs? Or are there some chicks hatched and the rest are still in the eggs? Did you move her at nighttime? Sometimes I cover the whole 'thing' with something, so the hen is in darkness, if I see she is uneasy. Some hens do not like to discover they have been moved, especially in the first few days of sitting. That's why you normally give eggs to a hen after several days of sitting, to be sure she has made up her mind and is sitting rock solid. Worst case scenario can be, you will be forced to move her back where she was sitting , let her hatch the rest of the eggs while observing her, and then move her with the chicks. It is difficult to give advice without knowing all the details. From your previous posting I thought the hens were just in the beginning of incubation.
Posted by: bettysheep

Re: broody hen support - 04/21/12 09:04 AM

I moved the hen with her eggs. She had been sitting for over a week and I began to think what would happen once they hatched as she was in a nest box off the floor. So I learned here to move her. I moved her at night but she was awake. I held her and moved the eggs in the box separately (but at the same time) . She is a first year hen and I am a first time chicken raiser so neither of us has any experience! I have left her in her new shed with the eggs and have marked them. Hopefully she will resume laying and then decide to sit again and she will already be in a good space for raising chicks.