Broody hen stepped off her eggs on day 19!

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by WalkingOnSunshine, Oct 28, 2013.

  1. WalkingOnSunshine

    WalkingOnSunshine Overrun With Chickens

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    I have a Buff Rock hen that tried to go broody about five times this summer. We keep Dark Cornish as broody mamas, so I broke her every time. Finally I'd had enough this last time, and gave her a dozen eggs. She settled well, kicked one egg out--who knows why--and sat down to brood. She's been a perfect mama until this morning, Day 19. Today she's been off the eggs all day, eight hours so far.

    I pulled the eggs and candled them (all viable) and put them into our incubator, but it's obviously not up to temperature yet and won't be for a bit. I have my fingers crossed for them. I didn't actually want the chicks, but now that they've been given life, I'd like them to have their chance.

    Has anyone had any experience with a hen quitting so late in the game? Any idea why she would have done so? Think she might sit again, and if so, do I take the eggs out of the 'bator and give them back?

    Oh, she's a two year old hen, and we have a "broody house" that we settle all our broody mamas into, so she's in a dark, protected space with no other flock members around. We hatch 3-5 clutches of chicks a year under broodies, and I've never had one do this before. I'm pretty mad at her right now!
     
  2. davemonkey

    davemonkey Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I had a hen give up on Day 16. Maybe she ran out of fat storage, or maybe she just didn't want to do it anymore...who knows...

    For this particular one, only 1 chick survived and hatched, and she doesn't want anything to do with it.
     
  3. howfunkyisurchicken

    howfunkyisurchicken Overrun With Chickens

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    Did your hen ever go back to the nest?

    I've had hens get up on days they were supposed to be on lockdown. Some have been off of pipped eggs, but usually when I check back they're back on them. Their chicks hatched fine.

    Just curious [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2013
  4. WalkingOnSunshine

    WalkingOnSunshine Overrun With Chickens

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    No, she didn't. Thankfully I put her eggs in the incubator when I noticed she'd been off the nest for 6 hours or so, since she never went back. I can't open the 'bator to see if any hatched until Friday, so it's driving me nuts. (Our 'bator is home made, so no window).

    I put her little fluffy butt on Craigslist yesterday morning when I saw her out walking around again. She was gone by nightfall. When the guy asked me why I was giving her away, I told him "because I'm really mad at her!"
     
  5. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

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    [​IMG]

    Maybe it was revenge for not letting her brood all summer.......an "I'll show her!" kind of thing.....yeah, if I thought chickens were capable of that thought process.....hey, best to just get rid of her and be done with it.

    How many eggs do you put under a Dark Cornish? My bantam cochins are getting old and I think I'll need some new broodies. Would be great to have full sized birds.
     
  6. howfunkyisurchicken

    howfunkyisurchicken Overrun With Chickens

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    What about LF Cochins? They are BIG girls and top notch broodies. One of mine hatched 26 babies, and she did an excellent job of caring for them until they found new homes [​IMG]

    My Orpingtons were wonderful setters and mothers too and could cover a bunch of eggs.
     
  7. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

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    I would absolutely love a ton of large cochins, but I'm in the PNW, on my own little piece of swamp. I have an area I can keep clean and dry enough for my bantam girls, but would feel horrible having large cochins with all the mud here, they'd just look terrible and I think their feet would weigh a ton from all the mud build up. Where I have 4 bantam cochins hens I'd probably be able to put 1 large girl, and that's no life.

    someday, when I'm not in a swamp........
     
  8. VictoriaA

    VictoriaA Out Of The Brooder

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    I'm new to incubating eggs, and may have to soon since ours seem to have given up, but why aren't you able to open the incubator until Friday? I'm trying to find as much info on incubation as possible, but I'm unsure what to search for. There doesn't seem to be much info on late incubation... that I can find anyway. :)
     
  9. WalkingOnSunshine

    WalkingOnSunshine Overrun With Chickens

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    Hi, donrae! I've definitely become a convert to using these girls for brooding. They don't lay very well, but that's not their job so I don't worry about it. I put a dozen size large+ eggs under my Cornish. They do just fine. I got mine from MMM and all three went broody multiple times beginning Spring of their second year. BY FAR the most dependable broodies I have, and I don't think I'm going to let any of my other breeds brood after this debacle. They sit tighter than any bird I've ever seen, and they are ferocious mamas. And they are gorgeous, with those super-shiny hard feathers. I think they'd be a great choice for your muddy area, since they aren't fluffy like most chickens.

    My big experiment for the coming year will be to mate them to that big Marans rooster of mine, and see what I get. Since Marans have the reputation for being a bit broody as well as being big, meaty birds, and those Dark Cornish are seriously meaty birds (it's almost, but not quite, like picking up a Cornish X) I'm hoping for broody females and tasty males from the mating.

    During the last few days of incubation, humidity is crucial. If you don't have high enough humidity, the chicks will stick to the membranes inside the eggshell and die during hatching, which is very sad. If you open the incubator even once, the humidity plummets and you might not be able to get it back up again. People refer to these last three days as "lockdown."

    I am leaving my incubator in lockdown a little longer than many do, because I candled my eggs when I pulled them from the nest and they didn't seem quite developed enough to hatch on the 29th, my predicted hatch date. Also, that hatch date was predicated based on them being under a hen, and IME they often hatch on day 20 under a hen. I learned a very hard lesson once upon a time when I opened the incubator to see the first hatchlings, but then the later chicks all died stuck to their shells because I'd dropped the humidity. So I'm not taking any chances, and waiting until Friday to open the door.

    Since early-hatching chicks can survive just fine on the yolk stored in their abdomens for three days, it's much safer to simply leave the 'bator closed until two days after hatch date.

    Have you looked at the BYC Learning Center for information on hatching eggs in an incubator? There's lots of good information there, including specific humidity to shoot for at various stages of the incubation process. https://www.backyardchickens.com/atype/1/Learning_Center
     
    Last edited: Oct 31, 2013
  10. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

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    Thx--I'd been looking at them for some broody, and think I may order a few this year. Haven't ordered chicks for several years, just bought from the Grange or hatched my own, but this next year there are a few breeds I want (Partridge Rocks, baby!!) that I'll need to order. I'd thought about getting a Cornish roo also, to add some meat to my cockerels, but since I mostly want eggs I don't think I'll go that way. Decisions, decisions!
     

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