5 ducks broody on 4 eggs

Jelibaen

Chirping
Aug 15, 2021
47
142
94
Alberta, Canada
Hey everybody! I have a broody problem!!
So two hens went broody at the middle of May. They had like 20 eggs between the two of them and it has gone real bad. The other four hens went broody and now we have 5 hens trying to share 1 nest box, and I think its actually killing the eggs. We are down to 4 eggs in the nest box, which look ready to hatch within the next few days. I'm really worried they're going to get crushed under the hens.

Mama Duck, or Mrs. Beakley as she is so named, has decided that being broody in the nest box was too crowded and henceforth created her own nest of 9 eggs BESIDE the box, because that was the smart thing to do.

As far as I can see my options are:
1. Leave the 4 eggs and pray
2. Move the fence to separate ONE broody duck in the nest box with mama duck on the side and everyone else has to figure it out and start laying their own eggs again.
3. Put the 4 eggs under Mama, which may lead to them hatching and her abandoning the rest of her eggs because they are only about 6-7 days in.
4. Put the 4 eggs in my incubator with my other eggs which are due to hatch July 3rd, and be unable to do a proper lockdown but pray they do okay.

At this point I'm pretty sure theres no winning and I'll just have to hope and see but I was wondering what you guys would do?
 

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I had 3 Muscovy's sharing a nest. I was concerned about what would happen during hatching so I removed the eggs as soon as I saw pipping and finished them in the incubator. All 4 eggs hatched successfully. I spent a couple of days discouraging the ducks by spreading out any nesting material they were trying to use. They haven't started laying again yet but everything else is back to normal.
 
I would either let 1 duck sit on them, not the one on the other nest. Or if she has been broody longest give her the 4 and another duck the 9. Or move to incubator.
 
So quick update: when I separated the ducks and put one in with the other broody hen, she just straight up abandoned the eggs. I ended up adding them to the nest with the other broody hen in a last ditch attempt to save them. That was last night.
Today they're both internally pipped. Mama is still sitting on all 11 eggs. At this point I cant take them out to the incubator because I cant lockdown with the eggs I have in it, so I'm either going to a) steal them as they zip and add them to the other babies and pray she continues to sit on those eggs or b) let the two hatch, put the eggs she is sitting on in my incubator with the others because they would be closer to the same age, and then maybe see if she will foster some of the babies I have now? They're a few days old but maybe???

This is so complicated. If I take the eggs as they zip, will she still hatch the rest? They're probably a week or two out from hatching.
 
So quick update: when I separated the ducks and put one in with the other broody hen, she just straight up abandoned the eggs. I ended up adding them to the nest with the other broody hen in a last ditch attempt to save them. That was last night.
Today they're both internally pipped. Mama is still sitting on all 11 eggs. At this point I cant take them out to the incubator because I cant lockdown with the eggs I have in it, so I'm either going to a) steal them as they zip and add them to the other babies and pray she continues to sit on those eggs or b) let the two hatch, put the eggs she is sitting on in my incubator with the others because they would be closer to the same age, and then maybe see if she will foster some of the babies I have now? They're a few days old but maybe???

This is so complicated. If I take the eggs as they zip, will she still hatch the rest? They're probably a week or two out from hatching.
How did it go?
Sometimes a mama will stick it out with the remaining eggs. Sometimes not. No way to know really.
 
How did it go?
Sometimes a mama will stick it out with the remaining eggs. Sometimes not. No way to know really.
The two eggs hatched under her this morning!! One had a bloody navel but he is doing well now.
She's still sitting on her eggs. I have her penned off in a relatively small area so hopefully she stays with them. My eggs inside are supposed to hatch on Saturday so what I might do is give her the new babies as they start hatching, and then put her eggs in the incubator for the rest of the time if she stops sitting on them. If she hatches them all, great!
And if not, I can keep the incubator running too.
 
The two eggs hatched under her this morning!! One had a bloody navel but he is doing well now.
She's still sitting on her eggs. I have her penned off in a relatively small area so hopefully she stays with them. My eggs inside are supposed to hatch on Saturday so what I might do is give her the new babies as they start hatching, and then put her eggs in the incubator for the rest of the time if she stops sitting on them. If she hatches them all, great!
And if not, I can keep the incubator running too.
You can try it..but you better hang out a while and see how it goes. They don't always accept a foster. I've had some that take them fine and others that try to run them off and kill them.
 
You can try it..but you better hang out a while and see how it goes. They don't always accept a foster. I've had some that take them fine and others that try to run them off and kill them.
So she abandoned the other eggs that havenr hatched yet. I've put them in my incubator - I cant see very well into them because the ducklings are so big but at least 2 are still alive. They were pretty cold so I'm crossing my fingers.
The other ones in my incubator are hatching right now. The humidity went back up to 73% after I opened it to put the other eggs in so I'm hoping I was fast enough to prevent shrink wrapping.

Otherwise, Mama is being a wonderful mother to her two ducklings and I hope she will take some of these babies too! But we will see. I am going to be watching my incubator very carefully today.
 
Quick update: Cayuga egg ended up getting shrink wrapped. The membrane tightened up and dried to its wings and neck so I did have to assist it out but its out and doing well now!
20220703_132359.jpg
 

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