Broody hatching eggs.... day 7 Help needed please


13 Years
Nov 19, 2008
Central NC
Ok, I have a question for you all out there.

this is the first time I have ever attempted to have a bird hatch eggs, or to hatch eggs at all! I just got my chickens in January and had a hen that refused to be anything but broody. I finally got her sitting well on the dummy eggs so switched her over to 9 to sit on and as far as I can tell, she is sitting tight like a good momma should.

My questions are:
1. Those of you who let broodys hatch their eggs, do you ever candle them? Or do you just leave her alone do her thing?

2. If you do candle, when?

3. Once the eggs hatch, how long does momma stay in with the chicks?

4. How do you keep the momma hen out of the chick food and the chicks out of momma's food?

5. How old do you grow the chicks out to before you put them in with the general population?

6. Oh and my general population of birds is very skittish around me... is there anything that I can do to make these chickens more friendly? I hate having to chase them down every time I need to band one. (to keep track of who is who. My entire flock consists of domineckers so they all look exactly the same except for one who has decided to be different and have white legs.)

The way I have the broody house/pen area set up the birds will be able to see each other, just not get to each other so they won't be complete strangers. I have little roosts set up in the enclosed area about 2" and 4" up from the ground just in case they want them later.

Thanks for all the help, this has been a huge adventure so far. Momma hen sees me poke my head around the corner to check on her and she makes this low pitched noise at me, I assume that's a good thing?
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1- Yes I do candle some clutches, but it is just to satisfy my own curiosity. There is not really any advantage to the hen, eggs, or subsequent chicks.
2- With the brown eggs from your Dominiques you can candle at about 7 days, earlier if you are experienced, a day or two later if it's new to you.
3- You can leave the hen with the chicks until they no longer need her for heat/protection. Usually there is no need to rush this as the hen will at some point lose interest in them and will kind of shoo them away. Some hens will try to make a lifetime commitment out of the whole thing though. You can safely separate at any time after about 6 weeks.
4- I don't try to keep the hen out of the chick's food. She will lead them to the feeders, and get them started eating. I'm sure someone will throw themselves and claim the hen for some reason must not be allowed to eat chick starter, but I've done this for over 60 years and haven't lost any from that so far.
5- I generally just put the hen and chicks into the population at around 6 weeks, though there can be a lot of reasons for adjusting this to sooner or later.
6- Can you do your banding at night? The birds will not forget if you chase them around during the day, but seem to be much less bothered when I go in at night and do the banding.
It's just an instinctive little alarm sound. You will notice the chicks will "freeze" when she makes it after they hatch.

You know, I hadn't thought about jsut doing the banding at night... good idea :::slaps forehead::: Is there anyway to make them more tame? I know its usually something that you have to do from when they are chicks but I got these chickens when they were already 16 weeks....
Bring them treats, get them to eat out of your hand or at least off your feet or on the ground by your feet, and sit down with a book and spend time with them.

Good advice from Dirt Road. Some do let the hen raise the chicks right in with the flock. Usually she will protect them from the others. But certainly there is some risk in this.

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