I did wonder how they manage. I think going into chicken-zen helps :). Mama Fayoumi got up 2 -3 times a day at first and was very vocal about it, but the buff minorca and especially the buff catalana – I never saw her off the nest. Supposedly broody hens get off the nest once a day to eat and poop – a VERY large stinky one, you can smell it when you are in the area. But I have read they get sick to, not eating….mine did very well. Remember, if it is very hot, don;t give them corn, also, since they are not laying, no need for layer feed – I gave mine starter and wheat berries – the berries were soaked in water for 24-48 hours.
So what to do: make sure they always have access to cool water in the summer and some food. I found hand feeding worked very well – at first they puffed themselves up when my hand approached, but then they’d eat. One of the hens I just took off the nest once a day during a time she was willing to actually walk around and poop.
So, their feeding pattern is really different, and even afterwards, they offer everything to the chicks. Mine did not start eating normally until basically they considered themselves done with mother duty.