1st Time Broody Showgirl sitting on eggs but being forced off by other laying hens

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by Kentuckyrain, Jan 16, 2016.

  1. Kentuckyrain

    Kentuckyrain Chillin' With My Peeps

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    This is my first time having a broody hen. My Showgirl just started laying about a month ago, laid for 2 weeks, then went broody sitting on an empty nest box for about a week, now she has been sitting on a nest box that has 7 fertilized eggs from other hens, not hers. She had plucked lots of her feathers off her belly and makes a cry noise and puts her head down if I go near her. Today makes day 9 that she has been sitting on the eggs. I marked all of them like the 2nd day of her sitting on them.

    My problem is, that I have other laying hens that keep getting up in her nest box everyday and not only laying their eggs, but my hubby witnessed one yesterday that was pecking the crap outa my Showgirl until she left her own nest. I have collected as many as 7 additional eggs a day that are being added to her box, but none of the other layers seem interested in sitting on them, just getting up there and adding to them.

    I noticed today, that her 7 eggs that she has been sitting on for 9 days now, are all dirty with pooh and look discusting.

    Any advice on what to do to keep the others out of her box? Or should I just isolate her in a smaller coop inside the main coop? She is the only Showgirl that I have and she is the most friendliest and docile hen I have.

    Also, will the eggs be ok being all poopy and ucky???
     
  2. CherriesBrood

    CherriesBrood Chicken Photographer

    Hi,
    I would suggest moving her to a more isolated place where she can hatch or sit on her eggs in peace. When she sits on them she is not only heating them up but she is also protecting them from getting cracked, and these other hens coming and going like this run a higher chance of her eggs getting cracked. The nest box she's in is probably the favorite nest box of all the hens, so that's probably why they keep kicking her out so that they can lay their eggs.
    I would suggest gentle scraping off some of the poop, because bacteria can get into the egg shell and infect the growing embryo and kill it. I hope this helps. Do you have any more questions? :)
     
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  3. howfunkyisurchicken

    howfunkyisurchicken Overrun With Chickens

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    Agreed, sounds like she's a low girl in the pecking order and the other hens are pushing her around. I normally let mine just stay wherever they decide to sit and collect the extra eggs each day, but I do have a couple that seem to get abused by the other girls. I usually move those hens into a cage I keep in the coop, or off into a corner of the coop so they'll be left alone.

    As for the dirty eggs, I would try to gently wipe as much off as you can with a dry paper towel and avoid scrubbing or scraping off the poo. The eggs have a protective coating applied when they're laid (the bloom) that meant to protect them from the invasion of bacteria. If its just a few smears, they'll be okay. If its actual clumps of poo, just do the best you can.

    Good luck :)
     
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  4. Kentuckyrain

    Kentuckyrain Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thank you both for your replies.

    Well, she was sitting on 7 eggs, last night before dark, I could only find her under 6, I looked everywhere and could not find the missing egg. While I was in the coop, I noticed a laying hen inside her nest, head first, trying to get at the eggs that were under my showgirl, I shooed her butt down. Then a few minutes later, a different laying hen was up inside the nest box, same position, as I got closer to the nest box to shoo down the other laying hen, I noticed that my Showgirl, had not only cracked open and egg, but had eaten the entire contents of the egg and her and the other laying hen were eating the empty wet shell. I grabbed the shell, then immediately removed the 5 eggs that were left under her and put them inside in my incubator.

    ***??? I can't believe they were eating them!!!!!

    The showgirl is back to being normal and even perching up top with the other layers and did not sleep in the nest box.

    So today, I went out around 3 pm, she was in the same nest box and was laying on 7 eggs there were laid today from other hens,, I removed all 7, she threw a small hissy fit, but got down, ate, acted normal, and is perching again up top with the other hens.
     
  5. CherriesBrood

    CherriesBrood Chicken Photographer

    Oh no I'm so sorry to hear that! Are you sure she is the one that opened the other egg and ate it? It could have been the other hens.
     
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  6. howfunkyisurchicken

    howfunkyisurchicken Overrun With Chickens

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    They may have inadvertently broken the eggs. I've seen some of my layers plop themselves down beside a broody, reach under her and take a few eggs, lay their egg and then get up and leave. And then said broody would roll all of the eggs back into her nest. I've also seen hens try to pull that same thing, only to result in a scrap over the eggs, crushing them. Then, you guessed it, they ate them (which is perfectly normal, if you're trying to turn eggs into chicks, you don't want broken eggs attracting predators). I'm guessing they probably broke them fighting over them and then made the evidence disappear. If your showgirl goes broody again, I'd definitely figure out a way to cage her inside the coop so she can brood in peace. Sounds like the problem wasn't necessarily the brood hen, but the other girls pushing her around to lay in her nest. I have the same problem with a couple of my low pecking order girls (as stated in my previous post), they do an excellent job of mothering their chicks after they hatch. They just need peace and quiet to incubate them.
     
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  7. Kentuckyrain

    Kentuckyrain Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I can't honestly say that I actually saw which one cracked the egg, all I do know is that when I looked up, walked over to the nest box, they both appeared to be consuming the shell because all the contents were already gone.

    She is still broody, but we have been collecting the eggs every day, several times a day. I think I will try and separate her if she continues to want to sit on them. Atleast I will know for sure if it is her eating them or the others.

    On another note, my hens were never egg eaters, but about 3 weeks ago, I was in the chicken coop shutting them down for the night, and all of a sudden, one of my Barred Rock layers, whom was perching up top , dropped an egg out of nowhere, and it had no shell, landed on the ground, and ALL THE **** OTHER CHICKENS ran immediately over to it, and ate ALL OF IT, there was NO evidence left that showed of an egg,,, they CLEANED the **** whole area. Do u think this made them egg eaters now?
     
  8. Paganrose

    Paganrose Chillin' With My Peeps

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    It is normal for chickens to eat cracked or soft shell eggs. Egg eaters are birds that intentionally peck open eggs to eat them. You can test it out by setting an intact egg in the middle of the coop and observing their behavior.
     
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  9. Kentuckyrain

    Kentuckyrain Chillin' With My Peeps

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    So, just put an egg like, on the ground and leave it?
     
  10. Paganrose

    Paganrose Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Yep- put down an egg during the day when everyone is up and active and just observe if any of the hens pecks it hard enough to break it. A hen may give the egg a small peck for curiosity, and then ignore it- this is normal.

    Also if you are having issues with thin shells or shell less eggs make sure your girls have access to osytershell.

    ETA- also bored chickens cooped up (especially with during a cold snap) with not enough space or things to occupy may develop bad habits such as egg eating.
     
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2016
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