1st time hatch w/ hen, need help!

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by dwalters, Jul 23, 2013.

  1. dwalters

    dwalters Chirping

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    Jul 23, 2013
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    Hi! I have had chicks for a few years now and never had one sit. I recently added six new hens and now have two that have decided give it a shot. I was letting mother nature work for this first time and figured if i didnt have good luck, i could intervene in any future hatches. I have one mama on day 17 and rolled four off the nest. Does this mean they are bad? Does she know they wont hatch already? Another mama on day 11 and everything seems good except when she comes off the nest she walks around all puffed up clucking. Is this normal? One is barred rock and clucker is RIR. I appreciate any info or advice! Thanks.
     

  2. DarcyRN

    DarcyRN In the Brooder

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    I have almost the exact same questions, only my other brooder is an Australorpe who tossed 3 of her eggs on the floor, and broke one in the box getting egg residue on all the others, so I cleaned them with warm water before returning them to her nest . Hatch day should be 7/25 (Christmas in July!) I would love some feedback,.
     
  3. sumi

    sumi Égalité Staff Member

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    Welcome to BYC, both of you! In my experience broody hens sometimes "misplace" eggs that are perfectly fine. When I find one rolled out from under a hen I just tuck it back under her. When hatch day comes she will stay put on the nest and get up around 3 days after the chicks started hatching, to take care of the chicks, leaving any unhatched eggs. These eggs may or may not hatch still. Sometimes, even under a broody, you may have late hatchers. You could candle the eggs and check if they developed and if they look viable either finish them off in an incubator or leave them in the nest and let nature take it's course.

    The "puffed up and clucking" behaviour is perfectly normal. Most broody hens do that, though some will just get off the nest quick, have a drink and a bite to eat and maybe a quick dust bath before running back to her nest. I actually got caught out like this by one of my hens who was sitting on a hidden nest. She didn't behave like she was broody at all. Maybe she knew she shouldn't give me any clues as to what she's up to! We finally busted her 4 days before her chicks hatched.
     
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  4. DarcyRN

    DarcyRN In the Brooder

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    Thank you!! Can you tell me if I may have caused any problems with the hatch by rinsing the remaining eggs in warm water? They were covered in sticky egg residue. I worked quickly, dried them with a clean towel and returned them right to the nest and hen. There is also still some residue in the bottom of the nest. Can this make the babies sick? I cleaned as best I could while not disturbing my hen Fanny. Just removed some soiled straw and added fresh straw is all.
     
  5. sumi

    sumi Égalité Staff Member

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    As long as you didn't use hot water and soaked the eggs they should be fine. Once the chicks have hatched and mom gets up with them you can clean the nest properly, but in the meantime, as long as she is sitting on clean bedding they will o.k. Good luck with the hatch and let us know how it goes!
     
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  6. DarcyRN

    DarcyRN In the Brooder

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    This is reassuring! Thank you. I expect pipping tomorrow (at least, tomorrow is day 21!) after reading some of the posts, I guess they are sometimes later than that...? I'll keep you posted!
     
  7. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Free Ranging

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    Good post, Sumi.

    How high is the lip on your nest where the hen is rolling the eggs out? I’ve never had a hen reject an egg, but I have the lip on mine high enough she can’t accidentally scratch one out when turning the eggs or rearranging the bedding.

    Sometimes too another hen will want to ay with the broody. Usually a broody is OK with that, but occasionally there can be a scuffle. Eggs might get pushed out or broken then.

    Sometimes eggs get broken because the egg shell is really thin. Occasionally you get one that the hen laying it just messed up. She didn’t get enough shell material on it.

    There are different reasons an egg can get accidentally broken or scratched out. If it is a really rare occurrence, don’t get too stressed out about it. Stuff happens. But if it starts to happen regularly, it’s time to do some thinking about why and see what you might be able to do about it.

    Darcy, you probably did no great harm in rinsing them off. Some people have “ideal” situations. Sometimes I have situations “I deal” with. You had one of those. When you rinsed the eggs and dried them, you removed some of the bloom. The bloom is a coating the hen puts on the egg when she lays it to help stop bacteria getting inside the egg. It’s not a perfect coating but it does a pretty good job. If you notice an egg that has just been laid, it looks wet but quickly dries. That’s the bloom.

    By removing some of that coating it’s more likely bacteria will get in. It’s not a sure thing, just a little more likely. But with that broken egg on there, it is possible bacteria could grow in that egg and go on in through the shell, even with the bloom intact. It depends some on how messy they are as to whether it is better to wash or not, but it is not an easy call. If it is a light smear, that’s one thing. If it is at all thick, wash. Poop on the egg can do the same thing. It’s best to never try to hatch a dirty egg, but if something happens after you start, well you have to deal with it.

    I’d go back and clean the bedding in that nest too. The broken egg still in there might get bacteria growing in it that could transfer to the egg’s insides.

    Something else. That hen’s feathers put a thin coating of oil on the eggs. That helps keep the bacteria out too.

    Good luck to both of you.
     
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  8. DarcyRN

    DarcyRN In the Brooder

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    Thank you Ridgerunner! I knew I was removing the bloom, but really felt I had no choice as the eggs were really heavily coated. This must have been there for a while because it smelled bad too. I'm not extremely hopeful about the hatch. As for the nest, it has a nice 1 3/4" lip at the front, but Fanny had 17 eggs under her. I think it was just too many!

    So, she started sitting on July 3 or 4. How long should I wait before I just remove them all, clean out the box and give her the next clutch I have stored for her these past 2 days? I really want to give them a chance, but don't want Fanny getting sick either. I have another hen sitting on 10 since July 8, my Barred Rock Florence (aka Ms. Polka Dots). She's in another nest across the way. I have a very large hen house, 17' x 22'. I have 10 chickens total, and they free range in my large, fenced backyard all day, closed up in the hen house at dusk.

    And my final question (for now) is: can I sneak in some other chicks to one of the mama's nests at hatch time, in the evening when the rest are roosting? All my chicks will be cross breeds, as my rooster is a Brahma, and the hens are everything but! I have lots of different breeds, and would like to add a couple buff Cochins and Brahmas. I can get these from my local feed store. What do you think?

    Thank you again in advance for your excellent advice!!
     
  9. sumi

    sumi Égalité Staff Member

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    Eggs may sometimes hatch late under a broody, though it's unusual, I have had a chick hatch on day 25 under a broody hen once. So I'd say wait until day 24/25 before giving up and hopefully between now and then they will hatch for you. Do you plan to give her more eggs to hatch if this hatch fails? You can do it, but it's not ideal. Broodiness is hard on a hen physically, they lose a lot of weight from eating so little and the 3 weeks' inactivity. It's unlikely to seriously harm or kill her, if she needs to sit another 3 weeks, but it will take a toll.

    If none of the eggs hatch I would suggest doing what you asked about in your second question. Slip some chicks under her at night and remove the eggs at the same time. This method is not 100% guaranteed to work without problems, but it does have a high success rate, especially when done at night, while the hen is sleepy. Just make sure you are on hand in the morning when she discovers the chicks, so you can intervene if needed. If she does hatch some chicks from the eggs you can add some to her clutch using this method as well.
     
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  10. CAjerseychick

    CAjerseychick Songster

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    Well to chime in here we are on day 24 (hen started setting either 29th or 30th) one chick out yesterday and no stinkiness in the other 5 eggs that I can discern... So I guess I will leave them be for 2 more days and then remove the eggs? ( I think one was added 3 days later than the others its not marked)....
    So am trying not to give up hope its the second time for this broody she sat 2 weeks in June and another hen stole her clutch-- she is sooo happy with the one chick she is purring (she sat tight both times in a nest box-- 24 days this time around and still setting....
     
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