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Hard Luck Broody Hen....and the lessons we've learned!

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"Bertha" is a Dark Cornish that has been trying to hatch a chick all summer.  We've had several heartbreaks and hard lessons through it all, but she finally has a chick. I've learned more about broody hens from this single hen than all the other uneventful hatchings combined! Here are some things I've learned with her 3 attempts at hatching.

 

1)  Not all broody hens move well.  She doesn't and gets very attached to where she thinks her eggs are.

 

2)  Not all broody hens will adopt newly hatched chicks.  Bertha killed 3 chicks I bought for her about halfway through one of her settings.  I watched and things seemed to be going well, but she killed them in just a few minutes when I walked away.

 

3)  Dogs will eat eggs from under a broody.  :he  She killed the chicks because she preferred her eggs.  A few days later the dog broke in and ate those same eggs when she was taking a break.  We learned to run the electric fence around the broody coop.  Ugh.

 

4)  Hens can hatch in a nest box within the main flock.  Bertha doesn't move easily, so I let her try to hatch in a nest box.  I marked her eggs - a few were broken in scuffles, and one was broken open pretty late (gross), but she ended up hatching two little fluff balls right within the flock.  It was easy to move her and her chicks after they hatched.

 

5)  Chicks can drown in bowls even when the sides are WAY over their heads.  I found one of her chicks drowned in a bowl with very high sides.  I thought those bowls were okay because the sides are so high I don't know how a chick could even get in it and we've not had a problem before.  But one of her hard worked for chicks drowned.  Those bowls are gone. 

 

6)  Sick hens can still mother their chicks.  We've had fowl pox and Bertha spent about a day and a half very sick.  All she did was sit around with her eyes closed...waking up just long enough to cluck to her chick.  I was going to take the chick, but gave her an extra day after she managed to get it into the coop for the night.  I'm glad I left it because she bounced back the next day and has done a great job with her little chick. 

 

Thanks for reading! 

 

Here she is today with her little chick:

 


Edited by SIMZ - 10/11/15 at 2:17pm

Married to the Perfect Guy with 3 kids.  We have a small flock of Black Copper Marans, Lavender & Blue Ameraucanas, and various layers.  We also raise free range meat chickens & turkeys!  What do you think? http://www.180movie.com/

 

Check out our YouTube channel:  https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCZYbRmx4TSpBdrmyqo75B_g

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Married to the Perfect Guy with 3 kids.  We have a small flock of Black Copper Marans, Lavender & Blue Ameraucanas, and various layers.  We also raise free range meat chickens & turkeys!  What do you think? http://www.180movie.com/

 

Check out our YouTube channel:  https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCZYbRmx4TSpBdrmyqo75B_g

Reply
post #2 of 2
Quote:
Originally Posted by SIMZ View Post
 

"Bertha" is a Dark Cornish that has been trying to hatch a chick all summer.  We've had several heartbreaks and hard lessons through it all, but she finally has a chick. I've learned more about broody hens from this single hen than all the other uneventful hatchings combined! Here are some things I've learned with her 3 attempts at hatching.

 

1)  Not all broody hens move well.  She doesn't and gets very attached to where she thinks her eggs are.

 

2)  Not all broody hens will adopt newly hatched chicks.  Bertha killed 3 chicks I bought for her about halfway through one of her settings.  I watched and things seemed to be going well, but she killed them in just a few minutes when I walked away.

 

3)  Dogs will eat eggs from under a broody.  :he  She killed the chicks because she preferred her eggs.  A few days later the dog broke in and ate those same eggs when she was taking a break.  We learned to run the electric fence around the broody coop.  Ugh.

 

4)  Hens can hatch in a nest box within the main flock.  Bertha doesn't move easily, so I let her try to hatch in a nest box.  I marked her eggs - a few were broken in scuffles, and one was broken open pretty late (gross), but she ended up hatching two little fluff balls right within the flock.  It was easy to move her and her chicks after they hatched.

 

5)  Chicks can drown in bowls even when the sides are WAY over their heads.  I found one of her chicks drowned in a bowl with very high sides.  I thought those bowls were okay because the sides are so high I don't know how a chick could even get in it and we've not had a problem before.  But one of her hard worked for chicks drowned.  Those bowls are gone. 

 

6)  Sick hens can still mother their chicks.  We've had fowl pox and Bertha spent about a day and a half very sick.  All she did was sit around with her eyes closed...waking up just long enough to cluck to her chick.  I was going to take the chick, but gave her an extra day after she managed to get it into the coop for the night.  I'm glad I left it because she bounced back the next day and has done a great job with her little chick. 

 

Thanks for reading! 

 

Here she is today with her little chick:

 

Awe. I just had my first broody hatch her eggs this past Tues/Wed. She had 3 and all 3 hatched. She was one of the "don't move me" types. If I moved her or tried to confine her she would get up off the eggs and pace. As long as I let her sit in her spot, she was a champ. Mine were also in the open coop. I marked the eggs and had to remove the eggs the others would lay in her spot. (They would bully her off so they could lay.) She finally settled into a cage I had in there so when hatch time came I closed the door and since chicks were hatching she was fine with that. The last two days I've left the cage open during the day and she takes them back in at night, but I've had  to shut the door at night because my broody's sister thinks she wants to be broody and since I won't let her is trying to get in there with her and the babies.

I have a second broody that is half way through and even though she has 5 eggs under her, only two are developing. She's not due until the 22nd though.

Funny thing is I started keeping chickens a year ago and there are 8 hens in my original coop/run, four are silkie and two are silkie mixes and have never had a single broody. These gals in coop 2 are only 6 months and I am having to break them left and right now from wanting to be broody.

 

I have always used rocks in my waterers for the chicks.

 

Congrats on your little one.

Need help incubating/hatching? Are you more a hands on hatcher? Come visit us: http://www.backyardchickens.com/t/1081034/hands-on-hatching-and-help

A guide to hatching from the hands on perspective: http://hatching411.weebly.com/

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Need help incubating/hatching? Are you more a hands on hatcher? Come visit us: http://www.backyardchickens.com/t/1081034/hands-on-hatching-and-help

A guide to hatching from the hands on perspective: http://hatching411.weebly.com/

Reply
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