Broody Hen Bullied Off Nest But Chicks Still Hatched

I received an email about a broody hen that was bullied off her nest of eggs for about 5 hours. I sent a reply and corresponded with Kate and was delighted to hear that the hen managed to get back on the nest and the eggs hatched out. Here is our email correspondence tracking the events.

Not sure if you can help – my broody was bullied off her eggs by another hen she could have been off them for a maximum of 5 hours but hopefully far less – it was after about 10 days – do you think all are lost or do we still have a chance – she is a great mother otherwise! Kate

Hi Kate,

Thanks for visiting farmingfriends and leaving your question. I don’t
have much experience of broody hens. I am sorry to hear that your hen
was bullied off her nest. 5 hours doesn’t sound too long and as the
eggs will be warm it would take a while for the temperature to drop.
Hens do get off the nest when sitting so they can feed and drink
although it wouldn’t be for 5 hours.
If your hen is back sitting on her eggs but gets off to feed and drink
then I would be inclined to have a go at candling the eggs to see if
there is embryo and chick development in the eggs. Here is some info
about candling eggs.

I will add your question to the farmingfriends forum and see if anyone gives a reply that
know about broody hens.

I hope the eggs are ok. Let me know how they get on.

Kind regards

Sara @ farmingfriends

Dear Sara

Very many thanks for your kind reply.  She is otherwise a very good hen
and indeed tends to come off every other day – she tells me when she is
ready…I have to keep her penned in as it were to stop the bullies!

I have never done candling but may have a go!

Thanks for your advice.

Very best wishes


Dear Sara – 6 out of 7 have hatched!!  Very sweet as you can imagine-
they have yet to eat or drink but shall encourage them later this
morning – they all came late last night…



Hi Kate,

Am delighted to hear this. The chicks can go up to 24 hours without
food and water as they have absorbed the yolk sac but obviously the
sooner you train them to go for the feed and water the better.

May I post your story on my website – I will only mention your first
name. I think me readers would be intersted to hear your success story.

Keep me informed as to the progress of the chicks and hope your hen
enjoys being mother hen!

Kind regards

Sara @ farmingfriends

Sara of course you can – she survived to visits by the fox that
took/killed 8 of my hens in total.  She was also bullied by some new
arrivals and could have remained off her nest for up to 7 hours maximum
although I suspect it was less than this…I am very proud of her!
Thanks for the info – I won’t panic yet – they have just had a little
bit of chick crumb – will give them a break for a bit now!



It was great to hear from Kate and know that the chicks have hatched and are now eating. If you want advice about your hens then why not join the free farmingfriends hen forum where you can chat about your hens and get advice and tips on looking after your hens.

In fact I posted Kate’s initial email on the forum and was delighted to get a response from one of my regular members who said,

“I have asked my friend who has many hens and she is confident that the eggs will be ok at this time of year if it wasn’t a cold snap. She says that if the chicks hatch, they might also get picked on by the bully so suggested that pehaps she could have her own area for a while? Campbell Ridge

I was delighted to receive this email and photo this morning.

Hi Sara – they are indeed in their own space – do see pic attached!

Kate's hen and chicks
Kate's hen and chicks

They are a joy!

Thanks so much for all your advice and support!  And that of your

Best wishes


So join the farmingfriends hen forum today.