New To Broody Hens...

Discussion in 'Chickens & Poultry' started by Green Mountain Farm, Jul 7, 2020.

  1. Green Mountain Farm

    Green Mountain Farm Active Member

    127
    Dec 31, 2019
    Virginia
    I have two Rhode Island Reds who have been broody for four days. I’ve incubated eggs but have never had hens raise their chicks. I’ve read a lot of different things about roosters and hens killing or protecting the chicks. I’m not sure which one to believe. I have a huge coop and a big fenced in area attached to it. Should I let the two hens and their chicks free range? Would my cat, dog, hawks or something else get the chicks or would the hen protect them?
     
  2. Tanya

    Tanya Well-Known Member

    The hen will protect them. But its not guarenteed. Best keep them in the coup till they are at least a month old. Mom will teach them to forage
     

  3. Robinsonfarm

    Robinsonfarm Well-Known Member

    273
    Jul 17, 2015
    Our broody hens normally go hide in the barn somewhere and hatch their chicks away from the others, then return when they are a day or two old. We let them free range from the beginning and have never had a problem. We have two roosters currently and they dont go near the chicks.
     
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  4. Green Mountain Farm

    Green Mountain Farm Active Member

    127
    Dec 31, 2019
    Virginia
    The rooster and hens are in the coop... will they not harm the chicks?
     
  5. Green Mountain Farm

    Green Mountain Farm Active Member

    127
    Dec 31, 2019
    Virginia
    We used to free range until the chickens tore up our garden. I’m just nervous about predators if I let the mamas and chicks free range for a week or so.
     
  6. Tanya

    Tanya Well-Known Member

    Other hens and roosters are not really bothered by babies. They generally stick to their moms untill they are older. I have seen roosters protect chicks that are theirs.
     
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  7. Canadian Goat Mom

    Canadian Goat Mom Member

    65
    Jun 28, 2020
    Alberta, Canada
    Hello. The one problem you may encounter is if they are setting eggs and other hens are still laying eggs the Broody might continue to collect eggs or the other hens will lay in her nest. Then another issue is when the eggs begin to hatch the other chickens will kill the peeping chicks because they don't understand the peeping nor have the Broody hormones to stop them from killing the chicks.
    I always separate my Broody hens into a Brooder pen. I candle the eggs day 7 to see if fertile and if they are I only provide feed and water and wait till they hatch. If you can put up a separate area around the Hen that the best thing to do. I would also not allow both hens to set eggs together.
     
  8. Green Mountain Farm

    Green Mountain Farm Active Member

    127
    Dec 31, 2019
    Virginia
    So they couldn’t brood in the same box? I thought that would be easier because I’m going to have to build a place for them and I was just wanting to have to build one.
    I want to move them ASAP because I’m having to be out there constantly rearranging things; other hens are shoving the broody hens away to lay eggs (which I have been collecting, I marked the ones I want to leave) and then the broody hen goes broody over another box and the eggs get left. I thought I would try putting them in the same box now and see how it goes and then put them in the same box in a “cage” I build if all goes well. Do you think that is a wise decision?
     
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  9. Green Mountain Farm

    Green Mountain Farm Active Member

    127
    Dec 31, 2019
    Virginia
    20599A77-366E-485F-B93C-E28C2D81A006.png 16F0FC87-E4FA-46A6-B8C1-35DC59AC1BF1.png Sorry it’s blurry but here they are! They are doing great at protecting their eggs; the Black Sex-Link pecked away a six foot black snake yesterday as I was trying to catch it to relocate it! The other one is a Rhode Island Red, she has 10 eggs and the Black Sex-Link has 1. I only have her one because she tends to go broody over the other boxes more than the Rhode Island Red.
     
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  10. Tanya

    Tanya Well-Known Member

    Each hen in its own box. Broody hens do not share well. Hens also tend to reject babies. So be ready to raise at least one chick by hand.
     
  11. MadHouse

    MadHouse Well-Known Member

    Last summer I let a broody hatch out eggs. She picked her own spot, but let me move her over slightly, so the other hens would have their nesting spots. There was no problem with hens or rooster harming chick (only one hatched for some reason), the mother hen was so protective. After four weeks of teaching the chick to forage, she abandoned it. The chick now knew her way around and was basically free ranging, because she fit through the 4” fence. She did fine and there was not much I had to do, except provide feed and water in a creep area. Once the mom abandoned her, the other chickens, including her mom chased her away. That lasted until she started laying eggs herself. She attached herself to the goats and me instead.
     
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  12. Green Mountain Farm

    Green Mountain Farm Active Member

    127
    Dec 31, 2019
    Virginia
    So, the most popular vote here is to let them be and keep a close watch after the chicks are hatched? I’m just nervous because I have some bully chickens and I really don’t want to learn this lesson the hard way... I’m thinking about moving them just because of that reason but how do I reintroduce them to the flock if they hatch and raise their chicks away from the flock? Are the chicks ok to be brought in at just over a month old?
     
  13. MadHouse

    MadHouse Well-Known Member

    I wouldn’t worry about bully hens when the mom is with them. The mother hen gets SCARY looking. They all avoided her. But if you are worried you can “subdivide “ a part of the run or garden for them, which could then be the chick area if the moms abandon the chicks.
    Reintroducing was not hard for my broody. She took her old place in the pecking order when she was ready to lay again.
    It’s the young ones that have the hardest time being accepted. They will need room to get away from the flock and have their own roosting area.
     
  14. Green Mountain Farm

    Green Mountain Farm Active Member

    127
    Dec 31, 2019
    Virginia
    I was thinking about making a large container for them with two nests and keeping them in the same container. Would that be ok for them to be in until the chicks are a week old? I thought I'd bring them to the flock after then. The nest boxes they are in now are really high off the ground, I would be afraid of chicks falling out while or after hatching. They could die from the fall but they could also get killed by the other chickens if mom is not there to protect them. Sorry for all the questions, I've never done this before!
     
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  15. Ashlynn

    Ashlynn Well-Known Member

    392
    Sep 30, 2017
    Lutz, FL
    We have the hens hatch them wherever they have a nest and then once a majority of the nest has hatched, we move mom and chicks into their own pen. We incubate any remaining eggs that mom didn’t hatch. The reason for this is because after a couple chicks hatch, a lot of times the mom will forget about the rest of the eggs to take the chicks exploring and will not keep the hatching eggs warm consistently anymore. Also don’t have the hen and chicks in an area where there is a place to roost. Mom will roost and the chicks will be stuck cold and screaming on the ground which attracts predators. We also separate because we have had hens steal each other’s chicks, other chickens kill chicks from pecking them on the head, and while your chicken pen may be fine for keeping chickens in it may have crevices for chicks to get out of.
     
  16. Canadian Goat Mom

    Canadian Goat Mom Member

    65
    Jun 28, 2020
    Alberta, Canada
    No. Sorry that's not a wise decision because Broody Hens are very private and protective of their eggs and chicks. That could cause problems such as stress so once the Chicks start hatching they could begin to kill them. I'd use one Hen depending on the amount of eggs your hatching and pop the other in a Broody breaker or set both up separately.
     
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  17. Canadian Goat Mom

    Canadian Goat Mom Member

    65
    Jun 28, 2020
    Alberta, Canada
    Keep them separated till the Chicks are about a week old and able to follow Momma around. During that week Momma teaches them to eat and to come to her alarm call. She will protect the Chicks although you definitely need to watch them during the first couple of days during the introduction back into the flock. My Rooster always protected his Hen and Chicks from the other flock members.
     
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  18. Green Mountain Farm

    Green Mountain Farm Active Member

    127
    Dec 31, 2019
    Virginia
    I made a very long “cage” for them to be in. There is a nest box on each side. Is that far away enough from the other hen? I might be able to separate the two sides. I was able to move them out of the coop and into the new nest boxes successfully!
     
  19. Tanya

    Tanya Well-Known Member

  20. Canadian Goat Mom

    Canadian Goat Mom Member

    65
    Jun 28, 2020
    Alberta, Canada
    I would separate each Hen with a divider. At least this way you know they should be safe.
    Best wishes for a successful hatch.
     
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