Broodie Hen Confusion

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by Sunwolf5, Oct 29, 2015.

  1. Sunwolf5

    Sunwolf5 New Egg

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    Apr 17, 2015
    About 5 weeks ago one of my Buff Orpingtons started setting in a nest box all the time. If I moved her she just sat on the floor and moved the litter that was around her and then went back to the next box. After two weeks of this I said ok and moved her with 3 eggs I had collected to an area by herself. She then laid one more egg. So now it has been almost 21 days (21 days is Nov.1 going by the day I gave her the eggs). Question: How do I know if and when they will hatch? All my hens have a rooster with them so the eggs should be fertile. Question: Do hens get diarrhea when setting? She has gotten off the nest twice over the last few days (that I have seen) walked a little way and pooped. I can hear her go and it is greenish-brown and smells bad. Today she didn't want to go back with the eggs but when I put her by them she set back on them.
     
  2. chickengeorgeto

    chickengeorgeto Overrun With Chickens

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    21 days is the total elapsed time that your hen must sit to hatch an egg. So don't expect chicks until the hen has been hovering her clutch for a total of 21 days. From your post i would advise that you don't begin counting your chicks until November the second, at the earliest.
     
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2015
  3. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    Broody hens do not come off the nest often, usually once a day though occasionally in hot weather I’ve seen mine come off the nest more often than that. They do not poop in the nest, they hold it until they come off. When they finally go it is often large and really stinky. Yours sounds normal to me.

    That 21 day thing is just theory. Reality sometimes gets in the way of theory. There are a lot of different reasons egg might be early or late. I don’t mean by a few hours, I mean days. It’s not unusual for my broody hens to hatch a full two days early, others have broody hens hatch a few days late.

    How do you know when they will hatch? When you see or hear chicks. How do you know they will never hatch? That’s harder. I’d give them about four extra days.

    Are you counting the days right? An egg does not have a day’s worth of development 2 seconds or 2 hours after incubation starts. It takes 24 hours for the egg to have a day’s worth of development. When counting off that theoretical 21 days, say one 24 hours after you set them. A good way to check your counting with chicken eggs, the day of the week you started them is the day the 21 days is over. If you started them on a Sunday they should hatch on a Sunday.

    Good luck with the hatch. Broody hens are normally pretty good. Try to be patient.
     
  4. sourland

    sourland Broody Magician Premium Member

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    Understand that this hen was setting for 2 weeks before you gave her eggs so now she has been broody far in excess of the normal 21 day period. Many but not all hens will set beyond the 21 day period for which they are hormonally programed . She may very well quit before these eggs hatch. Do you have a back up incubator just in case?
     
  5. Sunwolf5

    Sunwolf5 New Egg

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    Apr 17, 2015
    I was more concerned about the poop thing. I have been selling off my chickens and don't want anyone sick. Someone has ask to buy her and the chicks. I was also concerned about her maybe not wanting to stay on the nest because she had been setting before I gave her the eggs. Thank you for the help and I will just keep waiting. It is getting cold where I live. Can I move her and the chicks after they hatch so they stay warm or will they do better if I just remove the chicks. I have brooded chicks under the heat lights with no problems.
     
  6. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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  7. Sunwolf5

    Sunwolf5 New Egg

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    Apr 17, 2015
    Well I now have 3 chicks. I guess my counting days was off by one day. They hatched yesterday and seem to be doing fine. Mom hen was a bit cranky with me last night but was better this morning. I gave her a treat and she shared with the chicks. Thanks everyone for the information you shared.
     

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