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Hatching eggs with a hen

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 

I have a broody hen, the second or third time in a few months she has gone broody, and by far the worst this time around. She's been sitting on eggs for 3 days now, and no matter what I do, I can't get her out. So I was thinking of buying some fertile eggs and letting her hatch them. I've read a few articles/threads, but I still have some questions.

 

1. Do I have to move her out of the pen? She is highly attached to the nesting box, so if I need to separate her, can I just section that bit off for her? The other hens have places elsewhere they can lay.

 

2. Do I need to candle the eggs during the sitting phase? Some articles said yes, some say no. This hen is rather vicious when we come near her at the moment, so a) I don't like the idea of taking her eggs off her, and b) I have no idea how to do it!

 

3. Are there any special rules on transporting fertile eggs? I'd have to drive about 30 mins/45 mins to pick the eggs up, and it is summer here (about 30c today). Is there anything I need to do?

 

4. Do I need special food for the chicks when/if they hatch? Any other special arrangements I need to make?

post #2 of 5

Personally, I would move her.  The first time I had a broody I let her stay in her nesting box and put up a board so the babies wouldn't fall out but momma could still get out if she wanted.  Big mistake.  All the other hens still laid in her box so I was having to constantly remove extra eggs, then when they did hatch one of the other chickens somehow managed to get ahold of the baby and killed it.  Momma was still hatching so I wondered if maybe she didn't defend it so she could hatch the other ones.  Finally the best way for me to make sure that momma is going to stay broody is to move her and if she is still sitting on a nest then she will sit for the whole hatching process.  But again, thats just my experience and opinion.

 

Do you need to candle? Not really but you will, because it is fun and the curiousity kills us.  How do you do it, I just stick my hand under her belly palm down and lift then use other hand to get the eggs.  For some reason they never peck me, but peck the dickens out of my kids and hubby.  I say its all confidence. I give her the stink eye, she returns the favor, but I win.

 

Transporting eggs.......hmmm...maybe someone else will have better advice, mine is less bumpy, vibration the better. And let them sit for 24 hours no turning before setting them under the hen.

 

I feed a medicated chick feed to the babies.  And it is granual not pellet.

post #3 of 5

1. From my experience broody hens do not like being moved, so if I can let her stay where she is I let her stay. What you can do is block her nest box so the other hens don't lay in her nest and let her out once a day to eat and drink and dust bath. I've done this with one of my hens and it worked well. I waited until mid afternoon and removed the board I used to block her nest and left it for an hour or so.

 

2. You can candle the eggs if you want. I never do with broody hatches. some people say you have to make sure you can pick out dud eggs before they explode, but I've hatched many, many eggs under broodies and in incubators and I've yet to see an egg explode. It would be interesting to see what's happening in the eggs and which are developing and which are not though. It's up to you, but you don't have to. If you decide to candle here's some candling pics for reference:

 

*CHICKS are HERE!!!* Egg Candling Pics: Progression Though Incubation

 

3. Choose medium size (not overly large or small) eggs, make sure they are clean and have no visible cracks or shell damage. Put them in an egg carton and try not to bump them or shake them too much. Hatching eggs can survive heat for a short period, so they'll be fine in your car for the duration of the journey.

 

4. You can keep mom and chicks separate for the first week or 2 if you are worried about your flock's reaction the the newbies. I unfortunately had a few crazies in my flock who attacked and killed new chicks. So I separate them for the fist 2 weeks and then reintroduce them with mom. Feed them and mom chick starter and make sure they don't eat any layer food. The high calcium content damages their organs. Also make sure their water bowls are shallow or fill it with marbles, so when the chicks fall in there (mine inevitably do at some stage), they won't get soaked or drown.

 

Good luck with your hatch and enjoy!

 

“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
 

Reply

 

“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 #4 of 5
Thread Starter 

Well we have the eggs now! Picked them up yesterday afternoon. When we got home, mumma chicken was running around the yard, so I was worried she had stopped being broody, but I quickly took the opportunity to stick the eggs in the nesting box, and she ran straight in and sat on them!

 

This morning I enclosed her a little area of her own around the nesting box, with some water and food just outside, and she has been happily sitting there all day! Just hope she sticks it out!

post #5 of 5

thumbsup.gif Good luck!

 

“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
 

Reply

 

“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
 

Reply
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