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Advice on letting broody hen hatch eggs

post #1 of 86
Thread Starter 

I am thinking of putting fertile eggs under my 2 broody hens...for the first time. I am wondering what advice all of you have? Some questions I have:

 

-Whats the best way to mark the fertile eggs so they dont get mixed up with daily egg gathering?

 

-Whats the opinions on leaving hen in coop with other chickens when raising chicks?

 

-Any other advice or learned lessons would be wonderful.

 

Coop situation: 13 chickens (1 roo) in a coop that is 10 x 20 with a run outside thats twice as big-so plenty of space.


Edited by Angiebubs - 3/16/12 at 6:45pm

Barred Rock, Black sex-linked, Dorking/Iowa Blue mix, Black, Buff, & Lavender Orpingtons, bantams (mottled and splash) & LF (blue) Cochin, BLR, SL & GL Wyandottes, Lt Brahma, Salmon Faverolles, Easter Egger's, Speckled Sussex, Silver Laced Maran, and Polish mix 

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Barred Rock, Black sex-linked, Dorking/Iowa Blue mix, Black, Buff, & Lavender Orpingtons, bantams (mottled and splash) & LF (blue) Cochin, BLR, SL & GL Wyandottes, Lt Brahma, Salmon Faverolles, Easter Egger's, Speckled Sussex, Silver Laced Maran, and Polish mix 

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post #2 of 86
-Whats the best way to mark the fertile eggs so they dont get mixed up with daily egg gathering?

I use a black Sharpie and make a circle around the egg so I can see the mark no matter how the egg is laying. If you are setting under two different hens, you might want to mark them differently so you know which egg goes where. It's not unheard of for a broody to steal eggs from another. If you start them the same day, this is obviously not as important.

You may hear from people horrified that I would use a Sharpie. They have read that the fumes will kill the chick inside. Obviously I don't believe that, but you can also use a pencil to mark them. Just use a soft leaded pencil. A #2 will work but a #1 is better. Sort of lay the pencil in its side and rub a pretty good line on the egg. If you use a hard leaded pencil, that line is really light and hard to see and can rub off.

-Whats the opinions on leaving hen in coop with other chickens when raising chicks?

Hens have been doing this for thousands of years and chickens are not extinct yet. Anytime you are dealing with living animals, bad things can happen, no matter what you do. I do think that adequate space is important. If the hen raises them with the flock, she will take care of integration issues. I had a broody wean her chicks at 3 weeks of age in the heat of summer and the chicks did OK with the flock. They still had pecking order issues, being at the bottom of the pecking order, but with adequate space, they managed.

If space is tight or you have a history of a hen that is overly aggressive toward the chicks, separation may be in order. But if space is tight, how are you planning on doing integration later?

-Any other advice or learned lessons would be wonderful.

Many people have two broodies hatching at the same time and don't have problems. But there are some things that can happen. I'm not mentioning these to scare you or tell you that you can't do it, but just so you can watch for certain things or maybe be proactive in preventing them.

If you set the eggs at the same time, that removes the problem of one hen stealing the others eggs and you getting a staggered hatch. But if one hen hears the other hen's chicks hatching, she may abandon her eggs and go to the hatching chicks.

Its possible two broodies will fight over the eggs or the chicks. Chicks or eggs can get damaged in these fights. Hens too, for that matter.

Occasionally one broody will kill the other hen’s chicks instead of trying to take them to raise. This can happen whether they are sharing a nest or in two separate nests.

As I said, many people have two hens broody at the same time and don’t have these problems. Often, two broodies can share a nest and hatch together, them work together to raise the chicks. I can’t tell you what will happen, just a few things that might happen.

Good luck!!!

Freedom is not the right to do what we want, but what we ought....Abraham Lincoln (Freedom carries responsibility)

The spirit of liberty is the spirit which is not too sure that it is right.....Judge Learned Hand  (The more sure your are that your way is the only right way, the more likely you are wrong.)

 

http://www.backyardchickens.com/a/how-much-room-do-chickens-need

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Freedom is not the right to do what we want, but what we ought....Abraham Lincoln (Freedom carries responsibility)

The spirit of liberty is the spirit which is not too sure that it is right.....Judge Learned Hand  (The more sure your are that your way is the only right way, the more likely you are wrong.)

 

http://www.backyardchickens.com/a/how-much-room-do-chickens-need

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post #3 of 86
Thread Starter 

Awesome advice-thank you for your insights!!! I have also recently heard about the sharpies possibly being toxic-but you have had no problems?

 

So if I have 2 broody hens, would you recommend only letting one hatch at a time? Or less problems with giving each and egg or two? The nest boxes are raised and seperated so I can't imagine them being able to move the eggs. So far, they haven't (that I can tell) since I collect eggs in the evenings.

 

And I have plenty of coop and run space so that won't be an issue.

 

Thanks again!

Barred Rock, Black sex-linked, Dorking/Iowa Blue mix, Black, Buff, & Lavender Orpingtons, bantams (mottled and splash) & LF (blue) Cochin, BLR, SL & GL Wyandottes, Lt Brahma, Salmon Faverolles, Easter Egger's, Speckled Sussex, Silver Laced Maran, and Polish mix 

Ovations: ("Thumbs up" icon on bottom left of post) Let someone know they have been a help!

BYC Awards: https://spreadsheets.goo...

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Barred Rock, Black sex-linked, Dorking/Iowa Blue mix, Black, Buff, & Lavender Orpingtons, bantams (mottled and splash) & LF (blue) Cochin, BLR, SL & GL Wyandottes, Lt Brahma, Salmon Faverolles, Easter Egger's, Speckled Sussex, Silver Laced Maran, and Polish mix 

Ovations: ("Thumbs up" icon on bottom left of post) Let someone know they have been a help!

BYC Awards: https://spreadsheets.goo...

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post #4 of 86
Sorry I took so long to get back. I’ve had no problems with Sharpies. Otherwise I would not use them or suggest them. But if you are concerned, use a soft leaded pencil.

I have not seen eggs moved very much, but I have seen it once that I'm sure of. It wasn’t even a broody. An egg got laid on the ground in a tractor and was dirty. I was busy when I saw that and didn’t get it immediately. When I came back a couple of hours later, that dirty egg was up in a nest more than a foot off the ground. I don’t know which chicken moved it. I suspect the rooster but I’m not sure. But one of them picked it up and jumped up to the nest with it. That convinced me they can move them.

I can’t tell you what to do. I’m not in your circumstances with your goals and desires. Whenever you are dealing with living animals, things can go wrong, no matter what you do or which decisions you make.

I’m a little disappointed some others have not chimed in either with examples of problems or examples of no problems when they did this. I think the no problems would outweigh the problems. Some of the problems are not always that bad, though sometimes they are. For example, if two broodies fight over the chicks, usually no chicks are hurt and usually neither broody sustains any real damage. A fight is just something that might happen, and harm is something that might happen if they do fight.

You could put eggs under each broody, monitor the situation, and see what happens. You could break one broody and give eggs to the other. I would not leave one broody without giving her eggs to hatch. I’d never give just one egg to a broody. Sometimes eggs don’t hatch and she should be rewarded for her efforts. Two, maybe, but not one.

Most broodies are good mothers, but occasionally one is not. Some things can still go wrong even if you break one from being broody and depend on the other one. I don’t see this as one way is better than the other or one way is right and one way wrong. It’s just a decision you make that can go either way. As long as you have an idea of what to look for, you are better prepared to deal with it.

Good luck, whichever way you decide.

Freedom is not the right to do what we want, but what we ought....Abraham Lincoln (Freedom carries responsibility)

The spirit of liberty is the spirit which is not too sure that it is right.....Judge Learned Hand  (The more sure your are that your way is the only right way, the more likely you are wrong.)

 

http://www.backyardchickens.com/a/how-much-room-do-chickens-need

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Freedom is not the right to do what we want, but what we ought....Abraham Lincoln (Freedom carries responsibility)

The spirit of liberty is the spirit which is not too sure that it is right.....Judge Learned Hand  (The more sure your are that your way is the only right way, the more likely you are wrong.)

 

http://www.backyardchickens.com/a/how-much-room-do-chickens-need

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post #5 of 86
Thread Starter 

Ridgerunner: Thanks again for all the great advice. I completely understand that things go wrong-just beleive the more prepared I am-the more I know what to look for! And I agree with putting at least 2 eggs under each broody-I feel so bad for them each day when I go out and take their eggs. I actually felt the one hen clenched her little thighs together to try and keep me from getting it :-( But I am trying to wait until after my vacation over Easter so I can be here to monitor things.

 

Again thank you for taking the time to respond with the great advice!!!

Barred Rock, Black sex-linked, Dorking/Iowa Blue mix, Black, Buff, & Lavender Orpingtons, bantams (mottled and splash) & LF (blue) Cochin, BLR, SL & GL Wyandottes, Lt Brahma, Salmon Faverolles, Easter Egger's, Speckled Sussex, Silver Laced Maran, and Polish mix 

Ovations: ("Thumbs up" icon on bottom left of post) Let someone know they have been a help!

BYC Awards: https://spreadsheets.goo...

Reply

Barred Rock, Black sex-linked, Dorking/Iowa Blue mix, Black, Buff, & Lavender Orpingtons, bantams (mottled and splash) & LF (blue) Cochin, BLR, SL & GL Wyandottes, Lt Brahma, Salmon Faverolles, Easter Egger's, Speckled Sussex, Silver Laced Maran, and Polish mix 

Ovations: ("Thumbs up" icon on bottom left of post) Let someone know they have been a help!

BYC Awards: https://spreadsheets.goo...

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post #6 of 86

Ridgerunner has given you very good advice. In my experience, I've never had any luck with trying to let broodies set with the flock. Somehow or other, they always ended up with no eggs. They'd end up broken - my guess would be by other hens trying to get in the nest to lay. Other times, I've left them in the barn or wherever they chose to lay, and those eggs would disapper. So, I resorted to separating them. If I get a broody this year, I may try leaving her where I find her, just to see what happens. I like the idea of the chicks being integrated into the flock right away with the mama to protect them.

Chickens off and on for 25+ years and still learning.

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Chickens off and on for 25+ years and still learning.

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post #7 of 86
We all have different experiences. Last year I had a black snake eat the eggs out from under a broody hen in the middle of the afternoon. She offered no resistance but was just setting there when I walked in. Talk about creepy. I kept fake eggs under her to keep her going and hatched some chicks for her in the incubator. She accepted them and raised them all without a loss. The snake did not touch the fake eggs, just the real eggs, and was not around to bother the chicks.

But two other times I walked in the coop and found a snake that had eaten two golf balls out of an empty nests. They were not able to get back through the hole they came in becauseof the golf balls. I don't try to predict what will happen, just accept that a lot of different things can happen and deal with it as best I can.

I've found cracked eggs under a broody too. I'm not sure if that came from other hens wanting to lay with her or if that one may have fought off a snake or maybe even something else.

Most of the time there is no real drama with a broody and eggs, but every now and then, I get a story.

Freedom is not the right to do what we want, but what we ought....Abraham Lincoln (Freedom carries responsibility)

The spirit of liberty is the spirit which is not too sure that it is right.....Judge Learned Hand  (The more sure your are that your way is the only right way, the more likely you are wrong.)

 

http://www.backyardchickens.com/a/how-much-room-do-chickens-need

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Freedom is not the right to do what we want, but what we ought....Abraham Lincoln (Freedom carries responsibility)

The spirit of liberty is the spirit which is not too sure that it is right.....Judge Learned Hand  (The more sure your are that your way is the only right way, the more likely you are wrong.)

 

http://www.backyardchickens.com/a/how-much-room-do-chickens-need

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post #8 of 86

I have some eggs under my Cohin now. I started with 8 and am dowm to 4 as I was trying to keep her with the other chickens and I think they all wanted the same nest box. Now iI have her in a seperate enclosure and she seems to be doing real good. It is my first time trying this so I chalk the lost eggs up to my learning curve.

post #9 of 86
Last year i have 2 hens sitting in a nest box after 31 days i end up throw 60eggs alll of them away due to smell off rotten eggs.
Do you wait until one of the hen nesty before give her eggs?
i gather the eggs for daily but i leave them on the counter in the house before i used them [eating them] can i gave some back to the first whole day after she sit on nest?

when can i candle the egg to see if it is ferite?

how long does it take to hatch an egg under a chicken?
We have 10 chickens 1 silver campine,2 hen buff Orpington,3 hen n 1 roo who is disability Australorp /Cochin mix, 2 hen Leghorn started laying 7-19,2010  They  came to us on April 4 2010 one week old. got 3 more 8/14/10 BR  2EE young HENS
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We have 10 chickens 1 silver campine,2 hen buff Orpington,3 hen n 1 roo who is disability Australorp /Cochin mix, 2 hen Leghorn started laying 7-19,2010  They  came to us on April 4 2010 one week old. got 3 more 8/14/10 BR  2EE young HENS
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post #10 of 86
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ridgerunner View Post

We all have different experiences. Last year I had a black snake eat the eggs out from under a broody hen in the middle of the afternoon. She offered no resistance but was just setting there when I walked in. Talk about creepy. I kept fake eggs under her to keep her going and hatched some chicks for her in the incubator. She accepted them and raised them all without a loss. The snake did not touch the fake eggs, just the real eggs, and was not around to bother the chicks.
But two other times I walked in the coop and found a snake that had eaten two golf balls out of an empty nests. They were not able to get back through the hole they came in becauseof the golf balls. I don't try to predict what will happen, just accept that a lot of different things can happen and deal with it as best I can.
I've found cracked eggs under a broody too. I'm not sure if that came from other hens wanting to lay with her or if that one may have fought off a snake or maybe even something else.
Most of the time there is no real drama with a broody and eggs, but every now and then, I get a story.

Ridgerunner - I'm certainly not trying to be argumentative. Just sharing my experience. The only snakes we have here are garter snakes, and I've never seen one near the chicken coop. The ones in the barn are relatively unprotected, so who knows what could happen? If I get a broody in the coop this year, I think I'm going to give it another try. I'm already incubating 37 eggs (Pretty sure 31 of them are good, not sure of the others), and will be getting 25 chicks in the mail, so I'll have plenty if it doesn't work.
Quote:
Originally Posted by sunflowerenvy View Post

Last year i have 2 hens sitting in a nest box after 31 days i end up throw 60eggs alll of them away due to smell off rotten eggs.
Do you wait until one of the hen nesty before give her eggs?
i gather the eggs for daily but i leave them on the counter in the house before i used them [eating them] can i gave some back to the first whole day after she sit on nest?
when can i candle the egg to see if it is ferite?
how long does it take to hatch an egg under a chicken?

Sunflowerenvy - It should work to take them off your kitchen counter and give them to a broody, if you're positive that you have one. There is no point in trying to give them to one who isn't. Last time I had a broody, I know because she was on the nest every time I went to pick eggs, and was very feisty with me when I'd check under her. I'd give it a couple of days at least to be sure. I've never candled eggs when a broody is on them. I just let her be. Last time, I had no idea they weren't fertile until she'd been setting for 24 days and nothing hatched. I went to the farm supply store and bought her some chicks, slipped them under her at night and took the eggs. When I cracked them open, none had developed. If you want to candle, I'd wait until day 7 - development is so obvious by then. It takes approximately 21 days to hatch under a chicken, just like with an incubator. I prefer using a broody because you know that the conditions will always be ideal for hatching. If the eggs are fertile, there's a good hatch rate. The advantage to an incubator is, you can thatch them when you want them.

Chickens off and on for 25+ years and still learning.

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Chickens off and on for 25+ years and still learning.

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