Originally Posted by LadyBehir
Next question in this hatch experience - how long do I wait for the unhatched ones? She is still sitting on them with the fuzz balls so when do I remove them? I am in no hurry if she isn't. Just don't have a clue what I am doing (can you tell?)
Since the chicks absorb the yolk right before hatch they are good for 2 or 3 days before they need to leave the nest to find food or water. This is mother nature's way of allowing late hatchers a chance. The broody will usually stay on the nest the first 24 hours and sometimes longer if she is feeling/hearing more egg activity under her. I usually take any unhatched eggs 48 hours after first chick is hatched. Since we set all of the eggs at one time (we don't allow staggered hatching, all eggs are marked and any new additions are taken daily) I figure any which haven't hatched within 48 hours are either duds or weak for some reason.
If an experienced broody leaves an egg behind in the nest after 48 hours I just toss it, if an inexperienced broody gets off of the nest within 24 hours of the first hatch I will check to see if the other eggs have internal pips, if they do then I will stick them in a shoe box with a heat source to see if they will hatch. If they do then the chick gets added back with the broody when it is dry.
The hen seems to understand that the chicks need a day or so to get more mobile and they don't get off of the nest when any still need to dry (or at least they should not, and my experienced hens don't), after 48 hours you will usually see them begin to search out food or water. I have often set a dish of finely chopped scrambled eggs with some chick crumbles mixed in close to the nest area so the hen can start calling out the little ones to eat while she continues to set. The little metal cat dishes you can get at walmart for a dollar are good for this! .