My Tiny Brood of Backyard Chooks

chooks, hens or chickens?

Broody hen sat back on the wrong nest


It has been just over a week since we put the fertilised eggs under Hannah Hen so that she can have the pleasure of being a mum and I can have the pleasure of being part of baby chick raising.

When she first became broody, she was sitting on the middle nest with a golf ball and one of Helen Hen’s eggs. Then one day after she had been off for her stretch, she ran back (she always runs so as not to leave the eggs / golf balls for too long) and promptly got onto the nest in the corner beside the one she had been sitting on, fluffed herself up and made herself comfortable. I didn’t think much about this as it didn’t matter which golf ball she was trying to hatch.

Then we put the eggs under her and she sat for three days without getting off. She was giving those eggs a really good start! And then early on Sunday morning she came out for a stretch and refreshments and fended off another of Helen Hen’s pecking order challenges and then ran back to her eggs. Because it was Sunday and because it was still very early, I went back to bed for a leisurely start to my day.

About three hours later, it suddenly crossed my mind that Hannah Hen could have got back on the wrong nest. Surely not! Hmm, perhaps I had better check on her.

Oh dear, there she was sitting in the middle nest on the golf ball and her seven little egg were left to go cold. I promptly reached down, picked her up, she squawked and pecked my hand and her little legs were flailing as I lifted her up and gently plonked her back on the eggs.

I crossly removed the golf balls from all of the nests in the hen house and replaced them with upturned plant pot and paint tins. There was no way I was going to risk having her park her bottom on any nest other than the one with the eggs. What made her do that! Was she being stupid or was she somehow getting me back for capturing her and making her live at our place!

I was very lucky that it was Sunday and that I was home to see this happen. I would have been devastated if I had got home from work and found she had been sitting on a golf ball all day! I am pretty sure that the eggs will survive the three hour abandonment. That was last Sunday and all has been well since then. I have also shut the door of the run so that she can’t get out to where Helen Hen is and therefore she won’t have to endure more pecking order challenges.

Helen and Hilda are in temporary accommodation until further notice.


9 thoughts on “Broody hen sat back on the wrong nest

  1. Think you’re doing all the right things, fingers crossed! Xx

  2. Ohs nos! Love the coop/house!

  3. Silly Hannah Hen – maybe she was just confused.

  4. Broody hens should always be seperated from the rest of the “laying” flock to prevent stress, to prevent “new eggs” from being laid in the broody nest (a potential disaster if you have a rooster and fertile eggs get laid in the middle of a broody cycle), to prevent another hen from “taking over” the broody nest, and to make it easier for the broody hen to get food, water, and exercise. Sometimes when a broody hen is stressed out they will abandon the nest, so less stress is better. Sadly, a broody hen doesn’t care much what nest she is sitting on if there is more than one available, and especially if someone else is “sitting in her nest” when she returns from her break, she’ll just sit on another one until she feels like moving. LOL, Hannah is not mad at you, just being a very good protective “mom” unfortunately protecting the wrong “egg”. It is very good that you have seperated Hannah and her nest from the other girls. If they can maintain “visual contact” with each other it will help to maintain their already established pecking order. After the chicks hatch you need to continue seperate quarters for several weeks as you can not predict how Helen and Hilda will react to these new babies. It “is” possible that one or both will continually peck at and possibly hurt one or more of the chicks. Always maintain visual contact as this will help Helen and Hilda bond with the chicks over the course of several weeks. By the time you let Hannah and the new babies out and about, they will be accepted members of the flock.

    • Thank you so much for your comment. That s exactly the information I needed. You are wonderful.
      I will leave them separated after the chicks hatch as you suggest as I don’t trust Helen and her new pecking order challenging antics.

  5. Pingback: Chickens getting used to laying in the new accommodation « My Tiny Brood of Backyard Chooks

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