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broody hen in fall - is that OK? - Page 2

post #11 of 18
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the encouraging rooster thoughts. I don't know if I will have much of a choice, though, to separate the broody hen and her chicks from the rest of the flock. Come October, we'll start having snow here and then the chicken run will get much smaller. I have an inside coop from which a tunnel leads through the garage wall to a small covered chicken run so that the chickens can go out no matter what the weather. When there is no snow, they can go in a much larger run but as chickens don't like snow, they will then be confined to the smaller run. I am worried that with the shorter days and colder weather and less run room outside, the chickens will spend more time indoors which will lead to worse air and could lead to parasite spreading and aggression. All that would be, of course, bad for the little chicks.

 

I have to give separating them some more thought - it's a space issue, though...
 

Silke and the flock (3 3-year old hens, 3 young hens, and 2 beautiful roosters from own incubation)

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Silke and the flock (3 3-year old hens, 3 young hens, and 2 beautiful roosters from own incubation)

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post #12 of 18
Thread Starter 

Question about feeding the chicks: so, if they stay together with the mom (and possibly the whole flock), how do I get the chicks to eat their medicated starter food and keep the other chickens from eating it??


Edited by Silattahoe - 9/16/12 at 8:49pm

Silke and the flock (3 3-year old hens, 3 young hens, and 2 beautiful roosters from own incubation)

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Silke and the flock (3 3-year old hens, 3 young hens, and 2 beautiful roosters from own incubation)

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post #13 of 18
Thread Starter 

I am doing this all backwards: I had meant to update you first on what happened today.

 

We have kept a very close eye on the broody hen since yesterday and she has not gotten up to eat, drink or poop or whatsoever. We offered her food and drink right in the nesting box but she wouldn't touch it. As she moved so little, I thought she was already too weak to get up or intake something. So I took her out of the nesting box and put her in the outside run which was closed off for the other chickens as I wanted her to eat and drink in peace. She kind of panicked inside of it and we let her out to the other chickens. Interestingly, the roosters left her alone and she didn't want the other hens near either. Instead of going for the feed or water, she went to the dry dirt and dust bathed forever! She cleaned her feathers and then again. I threw her some feed which she then ate hungrily. She joined the other chickens to eat more. I saw her poop twice but she never took a sip of water during the whole time she was outside.

 

In the meantime, one of my kids and I examined the nest: there were 6 eggs. We candled them and 4 were infertile but 2 fertile, about 3 days or so into it. So, at least our hens efforts are not all in vain. Not sure why so many eggs were infertile, though. Are the roosters still too young at 5 months?

 

The broody hen went back to sit on the eggs (the fertile ones - we took out the others) after about 30 minutes. I hope that was not too long for the eggs?

Silke and the flock (3 3-year old hens, 3 young hens, and 2 beautiful roosters from own incubation)

Reply

Silke and the flock (3 3-year old hens, 3 young hens, and 2 beautiful roosters from own incubation)

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post #14 of 18

It takes quite some time for the core temperature of the egg to drop, so a hen can leave the eggs for longer than 30mins if she chooses without harming the embryos. Regarding the fertility, a young roo doesn't always "hit the spot" when mating with the hens. I've had a broody sit on eggs once only to find out none of them were fertile. My roo was around 5 months old at the time. Since then he's been practicing daily and he's fathered many chicks.

 

“Listen to the mustn'ts, child. Listen to the don'ts. Listen to the shouldn'ts, the impossibles, the won'ts. Listen to the never haves, then listen close to me... Anything can happen, child. Anything can be.” 

 

~ Shel Silverstein
 

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“Listen to the mustn'ts, child. Listen to the don'ts. Listen to the shouldn'ts, the impossibles, the won'ts. Listen to the never haves, then listen close to me... Anything can happen, child. Anything can be.” 

 

~ Shel Silverstein
 

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post #15 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Silattahoe View Post

Question about feeding the chicks: so, if they stay together with the mom (and possibly the whole flock), how do I get the chicks to eat their medicated starter food and keep the other chickens from eating it??
Just feed them all starter food. It's perfectly safe for them and in fact, good for them since it has higher protein than layer food. Put a bowl of oyster shell or even crushed egg shells on the side for the hens to eat as they wish. They'll do fine.

Lay down with dogs and you get up with fleas.


Love those Orps!

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Lay down with dogs and you get up with fleas.


Love those Orps!

Reply
post #16 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Silattahoe View Post

I am doing this all backwards: I had meant to update you first on what happened today.

We have kept a very close eye on the broody hen since yesterday and she has not gotten up to eat, drink or poop or whatsoever. We offered her food and drink right in the nesting box but she wouldn't touch it. As she moved so little, I thought she was already too weak to get up or intake something. So I took her out of the nesting box and put her in the outside run which was closed off for the other chickens as I wanted her to eat and drink in peace. She kind of panicked inside of it and we let her out to the other chickens. Interestingly, the roosters left her alone and she didn't want the other hens near either. Instead of going for the feed or water, she went to the dry dirt and dust bathed forever! She cleaned her feathers and then again. I threw her some feed which she then ate hungrily. She joined the other chickens to eat more. I saw her poop twice but she never took a sip of water during the whole time she was outside.

In the meantime, one of my kids and I examined the nest: there were 6 eggs. We candled them and 4 were infertile but 2 fertile, about 3 days or so into it. So, at least our hens efforts are not all in vain. Not sure why so many eggs were infertile, though. Are the roosters still too young at 5 months?

The broody hen went back to sit on the eggs (the fertile ones - we took out the others) after about 30 minutes. I hope that was not too long for the eggs?
I have one broody that will do that exact thing. I pick her up once a day and put her out to stretch, dust bathe, eat, whatever and she only stays out about 5 minutes then goes high-tailing it back to the nest. For her, I also section off her nest and put little custard cups of food and water where she can get it w/out getting up. I don't see her eating or drinking but when I come to get her up once a day, they have been eaten.

Lay down with dogs and you get up with fleas.


Love those Orps!

Reply

Lay down with dogs and you get up with fleas.


Love those Orps!

Reply
post #17 of 18
Thread Starter 

Galanie, do you mean medicated or not medicated starter food? I had heard that medicated cannot be given to lay hens as the medication would end up in the eggs.

Thanks.
 

Silke and the flock (3 3-year old hens, 3 young hens, and 2 beautiful roosters from own incubation)

Reply

Silke and the flock (3 3-year old hens, 3 young hens, and 2 beautiful roosters from own incubation)

Reply
post #18 of 18
I mean either one. But yes, it would be a lot better to make it non-medicated if the layers are going to eat it. If you want them to have medicated food, you'd have to separate the broody and little ones then. Won't hurt the broody getting it since she's not laying anyway.

Lay down with dogs and you get up with fleas.


Love those Orps!

Reply

Lay down with dogs and you get up with fleas.


Love those Orps!

Reply
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