Broody hen, how many eggs?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by babyrnlc, Jul 10, 2011.

  1. babyrnlc

    babyrnlc Chillin' With My Peeps

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    i have my first broody and she is sitting on imaginary eggs. It has been 2 days now. I have a friend with fertile eggs, if we decided this route, how many do I put under her so the chicks will be warm. We are gonna give her back some chicks and give some to another guy. We have our limit!
     
  2. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    Not all hens are the same size and not all eggs are the same size. For a tiny bantam, four regular sized eggs may be too many. For a full sized hen with regular sized eggs, I've seen them cover 15 and they might have been able to go with even a few more. She needs to be able to cover them all. I'd suggest you consider no more than 12 for a broody if the eggs are the right size for her. That gives you a little flexibility. You can go with less if you wish, but I'd suggest at least four if she can cover that many. You never know how many will actually hatch. With a minimum of four fertile eggs and a broody, you should get a couple at least.

    I'm not sure what you mean about how many so the chicks will stay warm. If you let the broody raise them, she will keep them warm, whether it is one or a dozen. If you raise them in a brooder, then providing the heat is up to you.
     
  3. chickenlady08

    chickenlady08 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 27, 2009
    Eastern Shore, VA
    I usually only let them have the max of 4 since I have so many go broody. I did however have my white Leghorn hide under the coop last year with 2 dozen+ eggs. I took 13 (cause that is all that I could get) from her and she had many left and she seemed like she was covering them all. They all had development in them. She hatched out 5 beautiful chicks but wouldn't sit anymore when we moved her so I had to take the chicks and raise them myself. (predators were the reason to not leave her and the babies outside the coop)

    Good Luck!
     
  4. Happy Chooks

    Happy Chooks Moderator Staff Member

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    Agree with Ridgerunner.

    Also, let the broody raise them until she weans them. Many people here have taken chicks away from broodies and had issues with the hen being upset, depressed, not eating, etc.
     
  5. babyrnlc

    babyrnlc Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Ok, so if I let her raise them, do we need to separate her from the rest of the girls? If not do we need to move her nest. It is a raise coop, will the chicks fall? If we put food up there, do we use allway so the hens dont eat chick food?

    We use chicken nipples, but it is outside the coop. So I guess we would need water in the coop.

    We do have another cage that we are using for a quarantine cage.

    I am just not sure about this now. sigh
     
  6. Sudsy Chick

    Sudsy Chick Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 28, 2011
    Washington State
    Quote:I'd say a lot of this depends on your birds.

    You may want to give your broody hen a smaller seperate area to keep her nest, mostly because the other birds will lay their eggs on top of her eggs and may damage them getting on & off. We left our flock integrated for the most part - just blocked off the nest to keep out unwanted eggs.

    I agree that it is kindest to your hen to plan on leaving them with her until she decides it's time. Ours just did this between six & seven weeks.

    There is a really good thread that goes into detail about hatching eggs with broody hens.
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/forum/viewtopic.php?id=457488&p=300

    good luck with your decision; dawn
     
  7. Happy Chooks

    Happy Chooks Moderator Staff Member

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    How high up on the pecking order is your hen? Do you have a ramp down from the coop? If you remove her from the flock, you may have issues reintegrating her. Yes, you would need to put food/water at chick level.

    Some people separate, some don't - it depends on your space and comfort level. Here's some great info:
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/forum/viewtopic.php?pid=2525465#p2525465


    It's totally worth it BTW, nothing sweeter than a broody and her happy chicks. [​IMG]
     
  8. Sorin

    Sorin Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I recently went through this with my very first broody so I know what your going through. However, you will love seeing your mama hen with her babies! [​IMG]. Here's what I did and it worked pretty well. My hen was pretty high in the pecking order so I wasn't worried about any bully hens. I made a separate nesting area for her in the coop by using 2x2 boards and chicken wire, it doesnt have to be sturdy, just enough to deter the other hens from going in there. It doesn't have to be very big just enough to put separate food and water and a little walking space. When the eggs hatch she won't really get of the nest much the first couple of days, and after that she will spend a lot of time sitting on them for a few days. The babies will be able to get through the chicken wire but they don't stray too far from mama. I was amazed at how the rest of the flock had no issue with the babies, just accepted them like it was natural. I would watch closely though, I may have been lucky. Like I said my hen was pretty high in the pecking order and I have an excellent rooster that keeps very good order with his girls. My coop is about a foot off the ground so I did build a little ramp for them out of a board I stapled some outdoor carpeting on so the baby chicks had traction. After the first week after they were born I removed the wire separator so mama could take the babies out and it was fine after that! She did keep the babies away from the rest of the flock a little bit for the next week or so, but then everyone was all together. If your hen is at the bottom of the pecking order you may have to keep a closer eye on them than I did. As far as food, they got chick starter the first week they were penned up then everyone got flock raiser with oyster shells on the side for the laying hens. The babies are 7 weeks old now and are doing great! They are bigger than the baby chicks I bought and raised on chick starter. I hope this helps! Good Luck! [​IMG]
     
  9. MareeZoCool

    MareeZoCool Chillin' With My Peeps

    If you want the easiest chick raising method; Section off the broody and her nest from the general population. She will raise her chicks quickly, teaching them how and what to eat. after two weeks, start giving the hen the choice to let her chicks explore the world by opening the enclosure a few minutes. Stand by and enjoy the show![​IMG]
     
  10. babyrnlc

    babyrnlc Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:She is about number 5 out of 11 hens.

    Our hens are great. We added new ones (she was one of them) when they were 5 months, with little problems and our chicks were fulling integrated into the coop by 8 weeks. We have never had a pecking problem. I am not worried about that and Buffy has chose the nest that noone uses as her new one (All our laying hens use one nest, even though we have 4!)

    WE dont have a ramp, it is more like perch steps. I am afraid babies my fall, it is about 2 ft off the ground.
     

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