SO a few days ago, my little buff orpington went missing. I thought she was a goner. Well guess what i saw yesterday while getting the chickens in? MY BUFF ORPINGTON, BROODING OUTSIDE IN A PILE OF STICKS!!!!!!!!! so now, what do i do?
We do have a rooster, but he is a bantam. She is a standard, but when we cracked open eggs before the big girls are fertile. So yes, some will probably be fertile.Do you have a rooster, meaning are her eggs fertile?
If so and you're okay with her brooding babies, most advise putting her in something like a large dog crate where she won't be disturbed. Look around here, there are lots of threads about about to manage broody hens.
I definitly agree, the oldest eggs aren't going to make it, i just wish i knew which ones those are so the fresher eggs could get better incubation.Twenty three eggs, all from one hen might be a no go. (I feel like I am raining on your parade) A couple of problems here, an egg that is 23 days old, is pretty old. I think 10 days is the standard limit. Also, with a very large clutch, the eggs on the outer edge, often are not kept warm enough, and the egg dies, but then the hen is constantly rotating and moving the eggs around, so the live ones are moved out and the dead ones are moved in, and in the end, nothing hatches.
However, all is not lost. wait till it is close to 10 days from when you first noticed her gone, go down in the dark of night, and candle the eggs. If they are growing red blood vessels, they are alive, not, pitch those. If none are alive, all is not lost. Wait another 10 days, and again in the dark of night, slip new hatchery chicks under her. A broody hen with chicks is a great way to raise new chickens cause if you do it within the flock, there are no reintroduction issues.
Now, the other (Lord, I am as much fun as old dishwater) problem, is that sometimes moving the nest. Some birds are pretty determined which nest they think is best. And will go back to that nest. But if you think saftey is the issue, again, move her in the dark of night, and confine her for a few days to make sure she is sticking to the new nest, and make her inaccessible to the old nest.
I have personally tried all of these mistakes, and hope to help you get a successful broody hen, one way or the other.