Broody hen help!!

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by amgreen1980, Oct 21, 2011.

  1. amgreen1980

    amgreen1980 Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 30, 2011
    Steelville, Missouri
    I have a cochin banty that has gone broody. At first, I had planned to NOT let her hatch, so I took her eggs the first couple of days, then we decided to go ahead and let her be, so I put one egg under her yesterday and two today. Will someone give me the rundown of what to do and what to expect? I know I will need to move her, should I do that now? Do I just make sure food and water are close and assume she will eat and drink? Is this a bad idea overall? We are starting to have a few freezing nights, and that was my biggest worry, that the chicks wouldn't be warm enough, should I take those eggs and break her? HELP!!! [​IMG]
     
  2. Sunny Side Up

    Sunny Side Up Count your many blessings...

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    Mar 12, 2008
    Loxahatchee, Florida
    There has been a lot of discussion on this topic with lots of great advice. Here is another great article on the topic.

    I've had a lot of hens hatch eggs here and in my opinion it's best to give them separate broody quarters, to trust them to know how to care for their eggs & the chicks when they hatch, and to trust them to care for their own needs. You will want to continue to closely observe her daily to be sure, but as long as everything looks fine, leave her alone. Eggs begin to develop when they receive the constant moist heat of a broody hen, so you should put all the eggs you want for her to hatch under her at one time.

    She & her babes should be fine even in the cold, you may want to help by providing some insulation around her nest box (straw or blankets, or my favorite, patio cushions) I wish you both great success!
     
  3. WingingIt

    WingingIt Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 16, 2009
    My first broody happened in winter time in freezing weather and I was sure the eggs would freeze during the short times she was off the nest to eat and drink, but she hatched all 3 (I'd left her with three to see if she's stay broody and so I knew she could cover that many) of them just fine. I didn't move mine until after they had hatched, so I can't help you with that part. I was afraid if I moved her she's not sit again so I just left her in the nesting box she'd chosen as 'hers.' If the other hens had tried to take over her eggs when she was up I'd have had to do something, but none of the others were broody, so they didn't cause any problems. Yes, just make sure she has food and water nearby, she'll do the rest. [​IMG]
     
  4. amgreen1980

    amgreen1980 Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 30, 2011
    Steelville, Missouri
    Thanks for the replies! So, do you think I should give her different eggs tomorrow? All at the same time? I don't want anything to go wrong for sure, and that site you posted said to NEVER add eggs...
     
  5. Sunny Side Up

    Sunny Side Up Count your many blessings...

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    Mar 12, 2008
    Loxahatchee, Florida
    If you leave the eggs with her the first egg could hatch 24 hours before the next two. Sometimes hens will want to leave the nest after their first hatchlings are that old, to take them for their first outing to eat & drink. You can do a staggered hatch under a hen, taking the first chick away until the other 2 hatch, then reuniting them. Or just give her all new eggs at one time.

    If you leave a broody in the coop with other hens she *might* have a successful hatch, but there is scope for more problems. She might get misdirected on her way back from her daily breaks and go to set in a different nest, leaving her egglings to cool & die. It's more likely that other hens will try to add their own eggs to her clutch, perhaps breaking some eggs or pushing them out of the nest. That's why I prefer separating my broodies.

    I wait a day or two to be sure they're committed to the job, then move them smoothly AFTER DARK. I'll even cover their new pen with feed sacks or something so that it's dark & cozy there, and most will settle in to their new place.
     
  6. amgreen1980

    amgreen1980 Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 30, 2011
    Steelville, Missouri
    Ok, again, thanks for your help. She is actually in the floor of our coop, none of my girls will lay in the nest boxes, they all lay in one corner or another. One actually layed on the front porch today! [​IMG] I will work with the hubby to get a separate area made up for her. I think when I move her I will give her new eggs. So, If I gather 3 eggs in a day, I can give her all 3 of those that evening?
    Do you think 3 regular size eggs are too much for a banty?
     
  7. Sunny Side Up

    Sunny Side Up Count your many blessings...

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    Mar 12, 2008
    Loxahatchee, Florida
    If your hen can cover all the eggs without them showing she should be able to incubate them. Most of my broodies are bantams and they can incubate 4-6 standard-sized chicken eggs. They've even incubated duck eggs and goose eggs too! Here's my tiny Chiquita on a goose egg that was almost as big as she was!
    [​IMG]
    She really could cover it all with her feathers, that little bit of egg showing was just for the photo.

    You can give your hen all 3 of the eggs laid in one day, if you want to give her more then you can store the first 3 in a carton at room temperature and wait for a few more the next day, then give them all to her at once. We like to watch broody hens pull the eggs under them, like little feathered backhoes, then they rock from side to side to settle them beneath their breasts. My kids call it the "chicky cha-cha" and will chant "chicky, chicky, cha-CHA!" as the hens place their eggs and glare at us.
     
  8. Sheepy

    Sheepy Out Of The Brooder

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    May 20, 2009
    I'd say just leave the three eggs you have under her. She'll know that she's hatching 3, so she'll stay. Plus you may not believe it, but chickens and unhatched chicks actually peep at eachother, so the mom knows if the chicks are developing or not. She'll know if they're about to hatch, and she'll stay on the nest until all 3 have. You might want to move her away from the other chickens, into a warmer spot, and make sure she has food and water next to her all the time. I wouldn't worry too much about her hatching them. Conchin Bantams are the best hatching hens, and the best moms!
     
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2011
  9. Sunny Side Up

    Sunny Side Up Count your many blessings...

    4,726
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    Mar 12, 2008
    Loxahatchee, Florida
    You're right, Sheepy, the mama hens do communicate with their unhatched chicks, they'll bluck-bluck-bluck to them and the chicks peep back while still in their shells. You can even sometimes hear it before they hatch! But at this early stage the chicks aren't anywhere near developed enough to hear or make any kind of sound. And I don't think that broody hens have any way of realizing the number of eggs they're setting upon, you can remove one number and replace it with another and it shouldn't bother them a bit. It's up to the OP if she wants to let her hen continue with the ones her hen started or replace them with fresh eggs.
     

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