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Do I remove unhatched eggs from under broody with chicks?

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 

Today was day 22 and so far at least 3 out of the 9 eggs under her have hatched.  When I get her to lift up a bit, I can see the eggs under there nestled in with the chicks. 

I'm worried that the eggs that are duds might explode or be broken in the shuffling and get all over the chicks. 

At what point do I remove the eggs?  She's an aggressive broody, so I don't want to get her riled up for no reason, especially as I'm afraid she might accidentally hurt the chicks if she's pecking madly at whatever comes her way.

Thanks for any advice!

1 chihuahua, Gizmo;  1 DD who's  19 and 1 fabulous DH.  1 Welsumer, 1 Sicilian Buttercup, 1 White Leghorn, 1 Partridge Penedesenca, 1 Rhode Island Red, 3 Easter Egger, 1 Ancona, 1 Giant Barred Cochin, and 1 Golden Sexlink,  all pullets as far as I know.

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1 chihuahua, Gizmo;  1 DD who's  19 and 1 fabulous DH.  1 Welsumer, 1 Sicilian Buttercup, 1 White Leghorn, 1 Partridge Penedesenca, 1 Rhode Island Red, 3 Easter Egger, 1 Ancona, 1 Giant Barred Cochin, and 1 Golden Sexlink,  all pullets as far as I know.

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post #2 of 9

Hens tend to leave the nest with their brood after a couple days. When you see her off the nest, that`s the best time to clear the unhatched eggs and shells out of the nest. Be carefull. If she has a mind to, she will attack you in defense of her brood. I wouldn`t worry much about the eggs exploding, yet. Nevertheless, handle with care.......Pop

In God We Trust

Siyah Rampuri Asil, White Chinese, Emden, and African Geese, Guineas, a Rottweiler (Bella), and a Yellow Lab (Booger). Fifty five years with chickens and still learning.

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In God We Trust

Siyah Rampuri Asil, White Chinese, Emden, and African Geese, Guineas, a Rottweiler (Bella), and a Yellow Lab (Booger). Fifty five years with chickens and still learning.

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post #3 of 9

In my experience, a hen will stay on the nest for about 24 hours after the first chick hatches.  She probably won't even get up to eat, drink or poop during that time.  The first chicks who hatch are fine hanging out under Mom, waiting for their siblings to hatch.

But after 24 hours Mom will take herself & all the hatched chicks out of the nest for their first outing.  They'll all eat, drink & poop.  And maybe a good dust bath for Mom. 

If there are any eggs remaining in the nest at this time, they probably won't hatch under Mom.  She'll let them get too cold while she & her biddies are away.  Also, if new chicks emerge they'll be at a disadvantage, will be weaker & wetter than their siblings, and Mom won't want to stay on the nest until they dry off.

You could wait until she takes her kids off the nest and then remove the unhatched eggs.  You could candle them, or just bury them sight unseen.  Or put them in a moist warm brooder and see if you could get them to hatch.  The hen *might* take them back, but be prepared to raise them yourself if she doesn't.

It's not happy people who are thankful, it is thankful people who are happy!
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It's not happy people who are thankful, it is thankful people who are happy!
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post #4 of 9

I wondered the same thing today.  My eggs were 22 days today.  I took them when the hen left to candle them but they exploaded befor I got the chance.  My first experience with rotten eggs.  WAY worse than I ever imagined!  I barely tapped them when I sat them on the ground to close the door and POP POP POP!  Thought I was going to die!  BE CAREFUL.

Elizabeth
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Elizabeth
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post #5 of 9
Thread Starter 

I removed 4 eggs tonight.  One almost seemed to be a fresh egg.  Odd.  One was explosively rotten.  Two had chicks in them, one which was a dark color and surrounded by a lot of fluid, the other with a thicker membrane, lighter color chick, and little liquid.  Neither were moving at all so I disposed of them.  I didn't have the nerve (or the stomach) to open up the membrane and see the little dead things. 

I suppose I could have put the one without much fluid back under momma hen and see what happens but I don't think there was much hope.  If it was a live chick, I would imagine there would be some kind of movement, and there wasn't even though I delicately bumped the occupant with my finger against the membrane. 

I'm not sure why this happened, but I'm thankful that it looks like I got 4 live ones, maybe 5.  Still can't get growly momma off the babies long enough to get a good look.  I'm glad she's so protective though.  Bodes well for healthy chicks.

1 chihuahua, Gizmo;  1 DD who's  19 and 1 fabulous DH.  1 Welsumer, 1 Sicilian Buttercup, 1 White Leghorn, 1 Partridge Penedesenca, 1 Rhode Island Red, 3 Easter Egger, 1 Ancona, 1 Giant Barred Cochin, and 1 Golden Sexlink,  all pullets as far as I know.

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1 chihuahua, Gizmo;  1 DD who's  19 and 1 fabulous DH.  1 Welsumer, 1 Sicilian Buttercup, 1 White Leghorn, 1 Partridge Penedesenca, 1 Rhode Island Red, 3 Easter Egger, 1 Ancona, 1 Giant Barred Cochin, and 1 Golden Sexlink,  all pullets as far as I know.

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post #6 of 9

If you ever again have an egg you are about to throw away, open or give up on, put it in a bowl of water deep enough to float it.  (warm, not hot)  An egg that does not move is not 100% acurate, but if you see the egg, after the water is still, jerking this way and that, then you certainly have a live chick.  2 lives have been saved this way in my henhouse and one egg is in the incubator as we speak.

Several mixed breeds as well as purebred barred rock, rhode island red and amerucana.  I am a hobby chicken farmer and an avid gardener with a small gardening business including produce csa and restaurant supply.  Besides that, I am a Master Gardener student and a full time optician/contact lens fitter with a 1 hour commute each way.  Husband helps take care of the chickens!
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Several mixed breeds as well as purebred barred rock, rhode island red and amerucana.  I am a hobby chicken farmer and an avid gardener with a small gardening business including produce csa and restaurant supply.  Besides that, I am a Master Gardener student and a full time optician/contact lens fitter with a 1 hour commute each way.  Husband helps take care of the chickens!
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post #7 of 9

I would wait a day or two before removing them. I had other chickens that would jump in with the broody and lay an egg than leave, so you end up having some eggs that aren't 21 days old yet. It happened to me.

1 understanding wife, 2 bouncing boys, 1 unique daughter, 1 australian shepard, 1 mean cat, 4 guineas,6 BO, 1 White Cochin, 1 Favorelle, and 3 mutt chickens and 1 frost bit rooster
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1 understanding wife, 2 bouncing boys, 1 unique daughter, 1 australian shepard, 1 mean cat, 4 guineas,6 BO, 1 White Cochin, 1 Favorelle, and 3 mutt chickens and 1 frost bit rooster
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post #8 of 9

I just had a big hatch of silkie chicks - 4 setting hens with a gazillion eggs - so far 25 chicks.  The first one hatched last Saturday, and between Sunday when I left for a quick road  trip to Massachusetts and my return on Monday afternoon, an additional 18 had hatched.  At this point (Wednesday), I have a total of 25.  Everybody is all mixed up (I hadn't separated the setters out from the flock, just left them happily setting on the floor of the hen house),  chicks are everywhere, and moms are busy teaching chicks to eat, drink and scratch.  I'm assuming that there will be no further hatching, so do you think it's safe to remove the remaining eggs?  I had found and discarded a few partially hatched or pipped eggs that didn't seem to have any sign of life, and a couple definitely dead.  I'd hate to throw away a viable egg, but I also want to get them better organized before they go into brood mode again.  Real nest boxes instead of the floor, yada yada yada.  They went broody almost as soon as I'd brought them home so I didn't have a chance to make arrangements beforehand.

As a sidenote, when I went out just now, there are 2 girls setting on the unhatched eggs.  Is this meaningful or not?


Edited by judithkorff - 6/1/11 at 8:10am
Judith Korff
LadySong Suri Alpacas AND
Silkies, Barred Rocks, Cochins, Guinea Fowl and Runner Ducks
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Judith Korff
LadySong Suri Alpacas AND
Silkies, Barred Rocks, Cochins, Guinea Fowl and Runner Ducks
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post #9 of 9

Eggs started hatching on Monday evening, lost 1 on Monday, and 3 more hatched Tuesday into Wednesday morning. There are 2 eggs left, how long should I wait before I remove them? One feels too light to contain a chick but the other doesn't. Any advise is appreciated.

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