Broody Hen Thread!

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by FarmerBoy24, May 1, 2011.

  1. pickinchicken

    pickinchicken Out Of The Brooder

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    Jan 5, 2014
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    [​IMG]

    Picked up my broody and have my very first egg hatching!!!!! A little beak was sticking out. We are sooooo excited!
     
  2. Lady of McCamley

    Lady of McCamley Overrun With Chickens

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    Depends on how good your broody is, how handy you are with the incubator, and how valuable the shipped eggs are.

    Broodies are generally better than incubators...up to a point...you obviously can get more eggs in an incubator as a hen maxes out at about 6 for bantams, 8 to 12 (reliably) for full size. Also depends if this a first time broody.

    Shipped eggs also tend to have a 50% hatch rate.

    What I would be tempted to do (depending upon the total eggs you want hatched), would be to put the shipped eggs in the incubator at the same time you set "x" number of your eggs leaving room for some shipped eggs. Candle them after a week, toss what isn't developing and combine the eggs until you have the maximum under the hen you think she'll handle.

    If more are developing than what the hen can handle, leave them in the incubator to hatch. Reassess numbers and situation at hatching...You can then attempt to integrate incubator chicks with hatchlings (which can be trickier and requires an excellent brooding hen). To ease with foster transition, keep the chicks in the dark brooder until they dry out then place them under the hen keeping a close watch. You want the chicks to imprint on the hen and not the heat lamp...you should do this the first 24 hours of their life.

    A number of us have written on the tricks of integration on this thread and the "Old Fashioned Broody" thread recently, so you can also glean from those posts.

    Good luck.
    Lady of McCamley
     
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2014
    1 person likes this.
  3. Lady of McCamley

    Lady of McCamley Overrun With Chickens

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    Mar 19, 2011
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    [​IMG] Congratulations!
    Lady of McCamley
     
  4. fisherlady

    fisherlady Overrun With Chickens

    I only hatched shipped eggs once, under my faithful expert Gracie... and she gave me 8/8.... but I understand that is rare on shipped eggs. Not because of the hen factor, more so because the shipped eggs often have problem air cells.

    I don't know how big your hen is, or how many eggs you have total between your own and shipped.... but my suggestion would be to let her start with a handful of your own on the same day as you set the shipped eggs in the incubator. Check the shipped eggs after 7 or 10 days and by then you will know what your total number of viable eggs should be. Decide then if you want her to hatch them or you want to graft them after the incubator hatch. Either will work, though I always opt for broody hatching... but on shipped eggs that may be a bit risky for some folks.
     
  5. BaileyBoy

    BaileyBoy Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Is t his chick malpositined? I'm a bit worried. And yes, they are PIPPING!!!

    you can see where the day 14 air cell mark is and where the pip is.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2014
  6. DarynA146

    DarynA146 Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 1, 2014
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    When my silkie chicks hatch,what do i do with the chicks? Leave them with the mother or move them,I want the mother to hatch the chicks and carry on laying eggs and going broody?
     
  7. Lady of McCamley

    Lady of McCamley Overrun With Chickens

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    The very best thing is to let mom raise them. They grow faster and are hardier and I think better chickens for it. (And mom is rewarded for all that hard work!)

    However, you can take them from her and heat lamp brood them, and if you do it right after hatch and put eggs under her she MIGHT begin to brood again; however that would be very hard on your hen. Brooding is hard work and takes a lot out of the hen. Her body will need to rebuild itself, which she does while she takes care of the chicks. Also taking the chicks away doesn't mean she will immediately start laying again nor brood again soon. Usually the hen molts after brooding, and in this time takes care of the chicks (anywhere until they are about 4 weeks to 12 weeks...how long varies depending upon the hen). In time, she begins to lay again, and after a time will brood again depending upon the bird and breed.

    Silkies are notoriously broody so many will brood frequently. My Silkie is a frequent brooder. She hatches, tends them until about 8 to 10 weeks (mothering them), then "launches them" and begins to lay and be a chicken, and in time goes broody again...generally she broods 3 times a year.

    I have not tried this but I did read an article that gets double the punch for the brood by starting eggs under a hen, taking those eggs away one week before lock down (at about 14 to 16 days) and finishes that bunch in an incubator, then puts another fresh set under the hen to finish out with the hen. That is about the most you could get out of one hen safely...nature has built in overlap so that most good broodies will brood for about 5 weeks.

    Lady of McCamley
     
  8. jadeguppy

    jadeguppy Out Of The Brooder

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    Feb 28, 2014
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    If a broody hen is left to raise the chicks, is it still possible to handle the chicks daily and get them use to being held? I only have hens for eggs and prefer them to be pets that can be held without stressing them.
     
  9. fisherlady

    fisherlady Overrun With Chickens

    Yes, it is possible... we have our broody area accessible by us, so we give the mama and babies their food and treats daily and often by hand. By the time they are a week old they run out of their nest to greet us when we walk in the door. Picking them up and handling them is done regularly so they are used to it enough that when they get older we can handle them without a lot of stress for health checks and such.
    We don't attempt to make them 'pets' as much as just be comfortable with being handled, though I am sure with a bit more time spent they would be even more pet like.
     
  10. jadeguppy

    jadeguppy Out Of The Brooder

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    Feb 28, 2014
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    Great news. Thank you for the fast answer.
     

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