1st Time Hatching - Small Broody Hen - Counting Begins When?

Enchanted1s

Songster
Sep 25, 2017
426
538
166
New Mexico
Hi All - Hoping to ask a few more questions. My little hen (Tootie) decided to go broody. IF my calculations are correct, tonight will be her 21st night in the nest box with the eggs.

Do you count days or nights? When do you start counting? Normally she goes inside the coop to sleep at night. When she refused to go to bed and stayed in the nest box - despite it being pretty cold - I figured this meant to start counting?

I have not candled the eggs. Tootie has never let me touch or handle her and I was not sure how much handling of the eggs would be alright? I tried, around day 9, but there was not enough darkness to see anything. The only time I could get an egg to examine is when she comes out for her daily break. I couldn't find a dark place without running off with the egg so I decided to just let her sit and wait.

IF her eggs do not hatch - will she abandon the nest on her own? If not, how many nights before we give up?
Tootie.Rudy.jpg
 

Tre Farms

In the Brooder
Jul 21, 2017
8
10
22
Hi There-
Congrats on the new additions! I'd like to grow our flock and thought it might be easiest to just let the chickens do so naturally rather try to add to them. We have a rooster. What is the process? Just wait until one gets broody? When will that happen? Is there a minimum # of eggs needed in the nest ? Where will the other chickens lay their eggs? Can we still gather the other eggs and leave 7-8 to hatch?
I appreciate any feedback you can offer :)
 

ChickNanny13

Crossing the Road
8 Years
Jun 23, 2013
9,125
12,936
977
The Big Island/Hawaii
Hi There-
Congrats on the new additions! I'd like to grow our flock and thought it might be easiest to just let the chickens do so naturally rather try to add to them. We have a rooster. What is the process? Just wait until one gets broody? When will that happen? Is there a minimum # of eggs needed in the nest ? Where will the other chickens lay their eggs? Can we still gather the other eggs and leave 7-8 to hatch?
I appreciate any feedback you can offer :)

Is your Rooster with your Hens? If so, Nature will take it's course. You can't make a hen broody, it's all hormonal. If your Rooster is living with your Hens, some of your eggs are probably fertile. If you're collecting every day or so, you wouldn't notice unless you were looking when you cracked an egg open.

If you want a hen to set, just leave the eggs & when she's "ready" she'll set. Again Nature takes it's course. Assuming you have more than one nest box, do they all lay in the same box? You could gather & leave some under her but unless you mark the eggs you would not know which is incubating & which are "fresh".

A friend of mine collects eggs every day or two. Her Rooster lives with the Hens, she incubates what she needs. WHEN she has a hen go broody, she'd pop some eggs under her but not all brooodies will sit to hatch.

I'm no expert, just a rough idea. The experienced will be peeping in ...
 

Enchanted1s

Songster
Sep 25, 2017
426
538
166
New Mexico
@Tre Farms, I am certainly no expert either! Everything @ChickNanny13 said sounds right. Our biggest problem was where everyone else was to lay there eggs! Tootie chose everyones favorite nest box to go broody in! There is a second (and now 3rd) identical nest box, but the others were jumping in the box with Tootie and trying to add eggs! I finally had to remove Tooties box from the wall and put her and her box somewhere the others could not make further deposits! I built two additional nest boxes. We have two other hens that just started laying in Feb. They have taken to laying in the hay stack in the corral! I am hoping that the two additional boxes will take care of the problem.

I have no idea if there is a minimum. We collect our 2 or 3 eggs every day. When Tootie decided to go broody, she was sitting on 2 eggs. I gave her 4 more. So far - we have 4 chicks.
 

bobbi-j

Enabler
11 Years
Mar 15, 2010
15,824
32,856
1,092
On the MN prairie.
Hi There-
Congrats on the new additions! I'd like to grow our flock and thought it might be easiest to just let the chickens do so naturally rather try to add to them. We have a rooster. What is the process? Just wait until one gets broody? When will that happen? Is there a minimum # of eggs needed in the nest ? Where will the other chickens lay their eggs? Can we still gather the other eggs and leave 7-8 to hatch?
I appreciate any feedback you can offer :)
If you want to hatch eggs on your own schedule, I would suggest getting an incubator. Not all hens go broody, especially if you have hatchery hybrids (hens specifically bred to pump out a lot of eggs).

There is no way to know when they will go broody, but it usually happens during spring and summer. I had one that regularly went broody the last Saturday in April. It happened 3 years in a row.

I would not leave real eggs in a nest, hoping they go broody. If a hen is going to set, she’ll set on nothing if she’s serious about it. If you want to tempt her, get golf balls or fake eggs. No sense in wasting good eating eggs!

If they decide to set in a nest where the others are laying, it would be good to move her if you can. (I move mine at night.) Fake eggs are a good idea here, too. Sometimes moving them can break their broodiness. You don’t want to give her eggs to set on until you know for sure that she’ll sit.

You will want to give her all the eggs you want her to hatch at the same time. If she’s setting where other chickens have access to the nest, you will want to mark her eggs and check daily for extras. If you separate her so no one else can lay in her nest, it’s good if you can still have her where she and the flock can see each other. I have had very good luck reintroducing a broody with her babies when they’re about a week old. At this stage, she will defend them fiercely, and the chicks will learn their place in the flock.

One more important thing. Probably the most important - before you set that first egg, you need to have a plan to manage all the extra males that will hatch. Are you going to keep a bachelor pen? Sell/give them away? Eat them? The hard truth is, it doesn’t work to just hope they’ll all get along. Too many males will do nothing but cause stress in your flock.
 

Enchanted1s

Songster
Sep 25, 2017
426
538
166
New Mexico
@bobbi-j I am so glad you posted that! My next questions were going to be about getting Tootie back with the others. One week, huh? Do I just open the door and let them out? OR should I keep the babies inside the shelter and let Tootie and the others the ability to come and go?? The babies are too tiny to get into the coop. Will Tootie stay with them under the coop in a cage? I guess I didn't really think too much about what's next! ALSO - I was serious about these babies going over the same fence in which the parents came! At what age should the babies be given away or sold??
 

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