Chickens Broody!!

natalie312(9)March 5, 2009

Hey, I want to know anything that you know about chickens broody, and becoming moms. How many eggs can a full size hen sit on? Can you move her and the eggs to a safe spot? Should i worrie about the other hens or rooster attacing her or the eggs?? What kind of bedding do they like? Are there any kind of wood chips that they do not like? Will she still lay her eggs while she is sitting on the nest?? How long will she wait for the other chickens to hatch after the first ones hatch?

Thank You!

~~Natalie

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fancifowl(5Pa)

8-12 eggs is about right for most hens. I used hens tio hatch all of my eggs. Here is how I do it.. Each breeding pen has 1 pair, the hens lay in 5 gallon buckets 1/2 filled with soft hay. Whebn they begin to set I wait 2-3 days to make sure they are tight then move the pail w. hen and eggs to a seperat pen, after dark. They hatch in the bucket, the chicks cant get out so I can toe punce each. They come out of the bucket whan all eggs are hatched and I re,one the bucket leaving the hen and brood in the pen for brooduing, when fully feathered I remove the hen. They stop laying when brooding. The hens will tend to stop setting tight by the 3rd day, the buckets help to i9nsure they sit tight untill akll the eggs have hatched.

    Bookmark   March 5, 2009 at 5:28PM
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runningtrails

I want hens to hatch eggs for me this spring too. I have a small children's small preformed hard plastic swimming pool. If I fill it 1/2 - 3/4 full of soft bedding, can I make two separate nests in it and put two broody hens in it together? Will they sit together and keep each other company or will they fight and injure each others peeps when they are hatched?

Will that be a good container for one hen and the peeps after hatching for the first couple of days, until the peep can run around and need space?

    Bookmark   March 8, 2009 at 8:37AM
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velvet_sparrow(Zone 5b, Gardnerville, NV)

Hens can comfortably sit and hatch 5-7 eggs per clutch, in general. You might be able to get more under her by using a full size hen to hatch banty eggs, for example, but you also have to remember that mama is gong to have to care for and be able to protect all of those babies, and she can't be everywhere at once. Also, if she has too many egg per clutch, you run the risk of getting a lousy hatch because she can't cover them correctly.

Most broodies who are serious about it can withstand a move to private digs. I'd ready the mama pen first and then move her and her eggs all in one go, preferably at night so she's less likely to run off. If she is tame and trusts you, it'll be easier. It will be easier to move her before the eggs hatch, rather than after, and is safer for the chicks--little chicks can be vulnerable to other jealous hens or roos. I always isolate mamas and babies for the first two weeks or more to protect them from the other chickens, you just never know how the flock is going to react to babies. I use plain ol' straw for nesting material, and add pine shavings to the pen--it helps absorb moisture, controls odor and protects the chicks from injury, plus the chicks love to scratch around in it. Broody hens generally leave their nests a couple of times each day to eat, drink, poop and maybe dust bathe, so she'll need some room to do that and get some exercise. Her instinct is also to get some distance away from the nest before she poops, so that the smell doesn't lead predators to the nest. How long she will sit on the eggs after the hatch begins can vary, depending on if she is a first-time mom or an experienced one. Mother Nature and mama hens usually know best when it comes to that, and any eggs she abandons, she does for a reason. I'd just keep an eye on her during the hatch and be ready to assist if needed, but otherwise let nature do it's thing. :)

runningtrails, I've only had two experiences with having more than one broody hen setting together. The first was with our identical twin buff cochin girls, they did EVERYTHING together and were never more than 6 inches apart during the entire time we had them (about 6 years), so of course when they went broody and hatched eggs, they did so together:

They cooperated beautifully and the chicks (5 hatched) treated both hens as mom. :) These two hens didn't seem to care if one had no eggs and the other did, or any other arrangement. They never fought over the eggs or the chicks.

The other time was last year when my partridge cochin and buff frizzle cochin both went broody. I set them up in a hen pen, and gave each a nest inside their own cardboard box--they could hear each other and knew they were together, but each had her 'own' nest:

I thought that when the eggs hatched, if the moms didn't get along I'd just remove one of the moms the first day and let the other raise all of the chicks. Both were experienced, older, calm hens. Unfortunately, none of the eggs hatched, so I never found out if my theory would have been sound or not.

Velvet ~:>

    Bookmark   March 9, 2009 at 3:17PM
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