1st time Broody Hens (2)

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by mainelychic, Jun 3, 2019.

  1. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Free Ranging

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    Do you think a broody hen should get off the nest to eat, drink and poop?

    Yes, and they will on their own. My point is that you don't need to check. The only reason I responded to your post was that you said that I meant "make sure they get off the nest for food, water (dust bathing which didn't get mentioned but it's difficult to cover everything) and to poop so the nest stays clean." That was not my meaning.

    Do you think it is good practice to unnecessarily handle the eggs of a broody hen?

    Unnecessarily handle, no, whether in an incubator or under a broody. You can always drop one and crack it or if your conditions are unsanitary you can introduce bacteria. If your conditions are sanitary that is highly unlikely, still anything is possible. But your comment was "handle the eggs, which can cause physical deformities if done at the wrong time". I have not seen this, I have not read anyone I consider an authority say anything about this. You should not handle the hen or eggs after the hatch has started, you might excite the hen and get her to stomping around defending her nest. The more I interfere the more harm I cause so I try to leave them alone as much as possible.

    I will try to find at least a link or an author to the studies that show the importance of the first three days of incubation and post later.

    I'll rephrase this.

    I'd welcome this to see how is this germane to the subject of handling or candling eggs under a broody hen.
     
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2019
  2. Mrs. K

    Mrs. K Free Ranging

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    Whew - what a ta do about nothing ^^

    I am in the camp of do as little as possible. I get mine off the nest about every 3rd day. That way I can take a peek at her eggs and see if any unmarked egg got in there. Which I remove.

    Do mark your eggs with a sharpie - I tried a pencil once and it wears off.

    My broody hens are with the flock. I think this is important cause when they get off the nest - they terrorize every other bird out there. Respect is high for her space, and that is a big help when she brings out the chicks to introduce them to the flock.

    Another point - not all the eggs hatch, some just don't. Do not feel bad. Once years ago, people kept an ongoing post, where as they added the eggs set, and eggs hatched to the previous posters, and divided by the total. As time went on, over 1000 eggs were set, and about 50% produced live chicks. My point being - if you get over 50% celebrate, if not, do not feel bad. Not every egg makes a chick.

    My broodies have always made a new clean nest on the floor, after hatching. At the time of hatching, the nest is a dirty mess, with eggs shells and dampness. About 3-4 days before expected hatch, I put fresh bedding on the floor and let her do her thing.

    Once years ago, a cattle man told me, "A cow knows more about being a cow, than I will ever know" I apply that to chickens too. Too much interference, can wreck the whole thing.

    Do not feed or water them in the nest.

    Mrs K
     
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  3. Shadrach

    Shadrach Roosterist

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    I'm sorry, this just isn't true. Some hens do not get off the nest on their own. Other hens are kept in broody coops that makes this impossible. Some people who have broody hens have no idea that it isn't absolutely fine to lock the hen in a cage and just supply food and water. I've had a hen here that just sat for three days straight and it took a further week to get her walking properly again.
    I think the advice make sure your hen gets off her nest once a day to eat, drink, poop and dust bath is sound advice. I can only hope that whoever reads this can see the importance of it rather than assuming that all hens automatically do this and there is no need to check or make the option available.
    I will still dig up the study regarding egg positioning and handling when I get on the other computer.
    Apart from that I'm done here.
     
  4. Mrs. K

    Mrs. K Free Ranging

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    hmmm well, I have never confined a broody to a cage, I have read on here that people do.

    I have had a bird, that I never saw off the nest, but once in the 3 weeks. However, I assumed that she got off, I just was not there. All of my broody hens when I take them off, act frozen for a few moments, but then shake it off and make a stroll around before getting back on.

    Once when it was so impossibly hot, I did take a small bowl of water, to one broody hen. She bit me, enough of that.

    good luck, praying for a broody hen now!

    Mrs K
     
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  5. I am one of those who separate my broodies.
    I notice i have a broody, i gather my eggs and separate the eggs i wish to set for 2 or three days.
    After dark on day 3, i move the broody to hutch. Fresh water and feed every day. Around daY 19 i hear peeping of chicks.
    I dont even open the nest section of the hutch, sometimes its 3 or 4 days before i see evidance that the hen has come out to eat or drink and poop.
    I have never had a hen die while sitting.
    I never candle eggs.
    I am in the camp that nature and instinct make my broody hen better at hatching eggs than me and any interferance from me messing around and distubing her only reduces the success of the hatch. My hatch rate is around 80 percent.
    Day 21 i just cant stand it anymore, and raise the hen up to see the chicks and remove any loose egg shells i can.
    I return hen to coop after 2 weeks with chicks (after dark again) where she becomes this ferocious tazmanien and not even the rooster dares approach her.
    Good luck with your hatch.
    You will find different people have success doing things multiple ways. The key is to find the system that works best for you.
    A picture of one of my broody hutches i built from reclaimed materials.
    20190527_163241.jpg
     
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  6. Shadrach

    Shadrach Roosterist

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    @Ridgerunner
    This was the study that underpinned further studies that I read.
    http://www.scielo.br/scielo.php?pid=S1516-635X2016000600001&script=sci_arttext
    There are further studies on the Nottingham University PhD database but you will need a university pass to access them.
    It is also worth searching for studies by Catrin Rutland.
    It may also be worth looking at studies carried out by the incubator manufacturer Brinsea.
    Very briefly it has been suggested that the first three days of incubation and the last three days when the hen no longer turns her eggs have a major impact on hatch rate and chick development.
     
  7. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Free Ranging

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    @Shadrach Thanks for the link. I did not see where it said that turning or handling them in the first three days of incubation caused deformities or other problems or that the hen stops turning them in the last thee days of incubation but maybe that is in some of the other articles you mentioned. This one did say the more turning the better, especially early in incubation. I'll admit I scanned most of it but read the turning section a couple of times.

    I also don't see any benefit to out continuing to discussing this here.
     
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  8. aquabum

    aquabum Chirping

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    I just let my broody hen do her thing! I marked the original 8 eggs I let her sit on and removed any that other hens laid under her!

    I let nature take it's course and I am now in the chick hatching days right now and have two out and happy!

    I moved her to her own area of the run with a brooder are attached once the chicks started to pip out of the eggs! Once the chicks are all hatched that will hatch, I will open the divider and let her do her mother hen thing and protect them as nature intends.

    Some people do everything they can to get and hatch as many of their eggs as possible. I just went old school and let my hen decide if she really wanted to be a mother! She did and it worked out. But I was willing and knew that nature can be cruel and I could loose chicks or they might not all hatch etc...
     
  9. mainelychic

    mainelychic In the Brooder

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    None of mine have hatched yet. Tomorrow or Thursday should be the day. I've read that it can take up to 5 days past "hatch day" for everyone to be out and happy! I do have a separate area I plan on moving the hens and their chicks once all are hatched. Again, I've read on here and else-ware on the internet that some choose to keep them with the entire flock and some keep them separated. Personal preference. There's no right or wrong way of doing anything. To me it's what works best for the individual and the current situation.

    I do have one question. Do you provide medicated chick starter feed? I'm going back and forth on this one.
     
  10. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Free Ranging

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    What is the medicine in your medicated feed? It should be on the label. I would never feed medicated feed without knowing what the medicine was and what it did.

    Most of the time in the US it is Amprolium. Not always. Other countries could be totally different and some medicated feeds n the US have medicines other than Amprolium.

    If it is Amprolium and only Amprolium, it is intended only for the protozoa that causes Coccidiosis. It is not an antibiotic, it does not treat anything. It reduces the reproduction of the protozoa that causes Coccidiosis. Coccidiosis is a problem when the number of protozoa that can cause it get out of hand. A few of those protozoa are not a bad thing, after two or three weeks of exposure to that bug the chicken develops an immunity to it. I consider that a good thing. The dosage of Amprolium in medicated feed allows some protozoa to reproduce so they can develop that immunity but tries to keep the overall numbers down.

    The bug that causes Coccidiosis thrives in wet conditions where chicken manure is present. The typical way Coccidiosis becomes a problem is that the bug thrives in those wet conditions and the chicken eats enough that the numbers in their bodies grow. That can be a wet brooder, coop, or run or water with chicken manure in it. If you can keep conditions dry and water clean Coccidiosis is hardly ever a problem even without medicated feed. If condition are wet the chicken can still come down with Coccidiosis even on medicated feed.

    The way I manage it is to keep the brooder pretty dry and feed the chicks dirt from the main chicken run on a regular basis, starting on the second day in the brooder. By the time the chicks ht the ground they have developed immunity.

    There is nothing wrong with feeding medicated feed medicated with Amprolium. I will not harm your chicks. It also will not give them immunity because it does not expose them to that bug. A common mistake is to feed them medicated feed in the brooder before they are ever exposed to that bug, then when they leave the brooder and are first exposed to the ground they stop medicated feed. Those chicks have no protection and if the conditions are wet the chicks can develop Coccidiosis.
     

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