Adding incubator chicks to broody's hatch -- synchronized hatching?

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by Island Chicken AK, Jan 30, 2011.

  1. Island Chicken AK

    Island Chicken AK New Egg

    Aug 25, 2009
    Wondering if anyone has successful experience with this. Have small flock of BRs and one of the hens has shown broody signs when eggs are left for her. We would like to add some other varieties to our flock and were thinking of ordering some hatching eggs for the incubator and try to "synchronize" the hatch. Then add the bator chicks to the natural brood so our broody hen can raise them. Knowing that the hen may not just go broody when we want her to, if we had eggs ordered and shipped which should be good for at least a couple of weeks, we could watch for her to go broody with her own clutch and then put our purchased eggs into the bator as soon as that happens. If any hatch, it would likely be within a couple of days of her own. Think we could then add the chicks to her brood after dark or something? How many could you add?
  2. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    I predict you will have a lot of trouble getting a broody when you want one. They go broody when you don't want them to. They don't go broody when you want them to.

    Your basic theory is OK. A hen will hatch any eggs you put under her so you can put the shipped eggs directly under her if you want to. It does not matter to her.

    I have hatched eggs in the bator and given them to a broody. There are many success stories on here about that. There are also a few horror stories. They are living animals and you never know for sure how it will turn out.

    How many could you add? Depends on the size of your hen and your conditions. During the heat of the summer, I had a BA raise 15 chicks. By the time they were 1=1/2 weeks old, she could not cover them all but the weather was warm and they snuggled. I think you are in Alaska. With a BR I might be tempted to limit it to 12 or so in the decent weather. If it is still pretty cold, maybe a few less. If your nights are pretty warm, maybe a couple more.
  3. spartacus_63

    spartacus_63 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 21, 2009
    Central Iowa
    I would get some fake eggs and get your hen to go broody on them, then order your eggs and switch them on arrival. Or if you want to use the incubator to hatch, leave the broody on the fake eggs till the eggs hatch and then swap out chicks for fake eggs. Best done at night, but not a requirement.

    I have found that if you have a broody capable hen, you can induce broodiness by confining her with eggs in a broody box. It is not a certainty, but it works with my bio-bators.

    Good luck and keep us posted.
  4. Island Chicken AK

    Island Chicken AK New Egg

    Aug 25, 2009
    Thanks for the responses. I need to clarify that the main reason we wanted to try to split it up is because of the large number of eggs in the hatch. I have read about having the broody hen hatch eggs from the mail or other flocks. We want her to hatch as many as she can from our own birds, but she could probably only handle 8-10 eggs at once. Since the mail order eggs would number 6-12 and have lower hatch-ability rates, we would want to try to incubate them all. Maybe adding a couple to her clutch would be okay. The timing idea may be a long shot, but we figured we could try for a couple of days to see if she gets interested and if not then they all would go to the incubator anyway.

    RR, I will seek out some of the other posts you mentioned here. So you have given incubator hatched chicks to a broody who hatched no eggs of her own at the time?

    Weather-wise, we are on an island in the Aleutians. Winter here is much milder temp wise than the rest of the state. We seldom get temp dips even to teens, and it usually doesn't stay there for long. It is a much more wet climate. Would set up a broody box in the insulated coop to separate her. Likewise even in summer our nighttime temps can get to 40s and lower 50s.

    Thanks again!

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by