Broody hen off eggs overnight--any hope?

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by BellaLulaFarm, Jun 26, 2010.

  1. BellaLulaFarm

    BellaLulaFarm In the Brooder

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    Mar 19, 2010
    Our broody hen apparently got off her eggs last night, and moved to a new box this morning where some of the other hens had already laid their eggs. The broody's eggs, which I think have embryos given their weight, were cold when I found them this morning. I stuck them back under her, but is there any real hope? This is our first time with a broody.

    Thanks!
     
  2. ncarper

    ncarper In the Brooder

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    Mar 14, 2009
    South Central Oklahoma
    I had a broody hen stop sitting after 3 of 12 eggs hatched. I'm not sure how long she was off them before I got to them, but I'd guess it was about a day. I knew she was done so I put the eggs in my incubator and was able to hatch out 6 of the remaining 9 eggs. It tooks probably 2 days or so after I got to them before they hatched. Of the 6 that hatched 2 didn't make it due to "birth defects".
     
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2010
  3. iamcuriositycat

    iamcuriositycat Songster

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    Jul 30, 2009
    Charlotte, NC
    It kind of depends on what point they were in incubation and how long they were cold for. There is hope, but I don't know how much. I would give them a few hours to warm up and then pull one out and candle it. If it looks good, then you can assume at least some of the others are good too. If not, then candle them all and only give her back those that are in good shape. Unless all the old eggs are dead and you want her to sit on the new eggs, then you'll want to removed the new eggs--otherwise when the old ones hatch she'll abandon the younger ones.

    Is there a way to isolate her from the others so she doesn't do that again? Build a small partition around the nest she's in?

    I'm sorry that happened. Good luck--I hope they make it!
     
  4. D'Angelo N Va.

    D'Angelo N Va. Songster

    Dec 28, 2009
    there is hope..I had 2 bantams sitting on eggs in the same hen house..one bantam hatched and moved her little ones to another corner, she left 1 chick behind..when I went in the next morning the other hen had abandoned her nest and gone to the lone chick..i took the babies from the first momma and put them in a brooder thus making the other hen go back to her nest and finish..she hatched 11 out of 14....
     
  5. BellaLulaFarm

    BellaLulaFarm In the Brooder

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    Mar 19, 2010
    Quote:I tried to candle one of them with a strong LED flashlight and couldn't see through the shell at all--is there an easy way to do it without buying some sort of candling apparatus? And once I see, how will I know if they look good? Is it possible to see a heart beat?

    I've thought about moving her into an isolation cage we use for our goats, but I don't want to upset her. I actually tried moving her and the eggs when she first went broody to another coop, and she got upset and went back to the first box--sans eggs--and kept sitting, so I put the eggs back under her. She does seem to get confused easily, however, and gets back up on the wrong nest regularly. Usually I catch it pretty quickly, and follow her with the eggs, but this time I didn't notice in time.

    thanks, all, for the advice!
     
  6. iamcuriositycat

    iamcuriositycat Songster

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    You don't need special equipment, but a very dark room is a MUST. You may have to wait until nightfall.

    Also, what you will see depends a GREAT deal on how long they've been under her. Do you know how long? If it's been a few days, it'll be a heartbeat and bloodveins. After that, you'll have to ask chicken experts--I incubate ducks mostly and they have a different timetable.

    Good luck--
     
  7. BellaLulaFarm

    BellaLulaFarm In the Brooder

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    Mar 19, 2010
    I'll wait until nighttime, then. They've been under her for about 2 weeks.
     
  8. iamcuriositycat

    iamcuriositycat Songster

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    Charlotte, NC
    Not sure about chickens at two weeks... that's about two thirds through incubation which for ducks would be about 18 days... So I guess you'd be looking for definite chicken bits swimming in the fluid--you should be able to see veins, and a dark mass moving under its own power. Sometimes we can pick out a little bill or feet or something--very cute. At this stage (at least in ducks), the baby looks kind of like a real bird, but not quite.

    Good luck--
     
  9. BellaLulaFarm

    BellaLulaFarm In the Brooder

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    Ok--I candled the 4: 2 looked pretty solid with a large air pocket at the bottom. One was very liquid with veins, but I didn't see anything moving. And the last one was liquid with veins, but there was definately movement inside! I put them all back under Momma and also left the 3 new ones she moved over to--I figure when/if the one hatches, I could incubate the others. Does anyone have a recommendation on a tiny incubator that is not too expensive but still works?

    Thanks!
     
  10. iamcuriositycat

    iamcuriositycat Songster

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    Charlotte, NC
    Sounds good! You can buy a Little Giant incubator at most feed stores for around $45-55. They aren't the world's best, but for finishing an incubation they work just fine and you won't find much better value for the money.

    Another option, cheaper, would be to take the first eggs 6-8 hours after they pip and hatch them under a brood lamp. It's a little more work, but you won't have to buy anything you won't already need for the babies. Once they pip, they don't need *as* steady a temp, and you've only got a couple days (at most) to monitor them before they hatch. All you'll need is a way to keep humidity up (but with ventilation) and a way to measure temperatures. Just put them in a small box of some sort with a rubber shelf liner or other good traction on the bottom. Punch holes near the bottom of the box for ventilation. Add humidity sources--wet rags and/or sponges work really well. Hook up a brood lamp so that it fills most (but not all) the opening at the top of the box. Stick your thermometer in and adjust the brood lamp until your temp range is between 95-101 (right in the middle is good to allow for fluctuation). Put pipped eggs in the box and monitor the temp regularly to make sure it doesn't get much above or below that range. Make sure the humidity inside stays high or they'll have trouble turning around to zip out.

    That's a lot of work, and the incubator's likely to be a safer bet, but the brood lamp can work too if you don't want or can't afford to spend the money.

    On the other hand, an incubator is a great investment if you're going to be raising birds, so it might be worth it just to have one on hand for future incidents.

    Good luck!
     

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