Broody Hen FAIL - Advice?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by sunheeter, Jul 28, 2014.

  1. sunheeter

    sunheeter In the Brooder

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    Feb 26, 2014
    Ventura County
    Okay, so I've had this hen, Tikka, a sexlink mix. She's really had a rough go of the broody thing. I would love for it to work, but if it turns out she just sucks at being broody, I'm not gonna keep trying. [​IMG]

    Broody Time #1

    I left her in one of the nesting boxes, where the other hens lay. Someone suggested that I just mark the eggs I want her to sit on, and if anyone else tries laying in the same box, I'll know which eggs to remove. So I started her with probably 8 eggs. This turned out to be ANNOYING. They ALL laid their eggs on top of her, and I'd go out to check every day, and she'd be sitting on (or trying to) like 15 eggs. I pulled the eggs out every day, but once in a while I'd notice one of the marked eggs sitting outside of her warmth while other eggs; just laid, were happily incubating underneath.

    She ended up only hatching out 1 chick, the rest of the eggs never hatched.

    [​IMG]

    Broody Time #2

    This happened only a couple months after the first time. I was surprised that she even went broody once, and then I come out and she's trying to sit on eggs again! This time, I separated her. I only put 5 eggs under her. She had her own little spot with everything she needed and peace and quiet to get the job done. Unfortunately, I didn't candle the eggs, so I'm not sure if they were 100% fertile. We had just thrown a bunch into an incubator, from the same flock, and probably 38 out of 42 were totally fertilized. I assumed the same ratio was probably true with the eggs I put under her.

    3 weeks go by, and Tikka has been pretty peaceful and quiet the whole time. She's moved around a little bit in her cage, but she's on eggs every time. She did have a little scare with one of my dogs, he jumped the fence and was able to get the cage door open, and had her cornered. But we got the dog out of there, and she sat back on her eggs, and all seemed to be well. Except no chicks hatched. None. I cracked the eggs open, and they were just straight liquid. And rotten. So what's the deal? Were the eggs bad? It's been 100 degrees here, could the temperature have had something to do with it? Is Tikka just sucky at being broody? I don't think this is her fault, but she's had quite the string of bad luck!

    And the eggs. WHAT IS WITH THAT COLOR?
    [​IMG]

    Is that cause of the heat? It looks to me like none of the eggs ended up being fertilized? Well, actually, one of the ones not in this picture had veins running all through the liquid. But it stopped very early in the process. Was that Tikka's fault?

    Help me understand the science of broody hens! Haha, I have had such bad luck! Even with my silkies, they failed miserably at being broody! It's not going well. [​IMG]From attacking their own chicks to smashing each others (I had 2 broody at the same time, and they kept switching boxes and fighting over eggs) it's just been ANNOYING! But I want to order hatching eggs someday and be able to put them under a hen! I just need to make sure they can handle it first!

    Help!
     

  2. chooks4life

    chooks4life Crowing

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    Apr 8, 2013
    Australia
    Don't see how rotten eggs with early embryonic death (if even fertile at all) could be your hen's fault when she's been sitting diligently. Are you sure she doesn't leave the eggs at night to go perch? It'd be unusual but I did have one hen come back to the perch all night, every night, which is why I didn't find out she was incubating a clutch out in the forest --- but even those eggs hatched despite being left cold overnight, lol, and I've seen other eggs also cope with abuse and still hatch. They just took longer than the usual time because they had less incubation time so spent more time in stasis.

    I would suspect perhaps lack of fertility in either the male/s or female/s involved in those eggs. Whenever incubating, I check them all with a torch, I don't let a hen waste her resources on duds.

    I wouldn't think she's a dud until she's proven she cannot mother chicks, or brood properly... I'd try her out with some proven fertile eggs and do a sneak check on her at night a few times to see if she's got the situation under control.

    Best wishes.
     
  3. chooks4life

    chooks4life Crowing

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    Apr 8, 2013
    Australia
    Another possibility, though rare, is that the bedding material is infected or the coop flooring with something that kills eggs... Such pathogens can be transmitted through touching feathers, legs/feet/, other eggs, nesting material etc... But my one experience with that was out of the blue and it stank. Rotten eggs with that issue can infect perfectly healthy eggs and kill them even while hatching, it's that virulent.
     

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