Broody hens

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by DaKid, May 18, 2010.

  1. DaKid

    DaKid Chillin' With My Peeps

    739
    1
    153
    Aug 31, 2008
    Berkley , Ma.
    Ok I have 3 hens that have been sitting on eggs for the last 2 weeks or so I mark the eggs that where first laid in each nesting box after the 1 st week and take out any eggs that are not mark , but my question is this how long with the broody hens sit on eggs , the reason why is I have some hatching duck eggs coming in the next day or two and want to replace some of the chicken eggs that they have been sitting and replace them with the duck eggs .......now my question is this will the girls sit on these new duck eggs for the next 26 to 28 days and hatch them out or shouls I just place the new duck eggs in the bator .......



    thanks Alan
     
  2. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

    20,301
    3,604
    496
    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    Personally I'd use the incubator, but if you really like worry, stress, excitement and risk, you could try to use a broody.

    When baby chicks hatch, they can go about three days without food or water, maybe a little longer. That is so Mama can keep the early hatchers on the nest while her other eggs hatch. But she has to take them off the nest to find food and water for them before they starve to death. This means she will abandon any unhatched eggs left when she decides it is time to get food and water for her chicks that have hatched. She will probably stay two days but probably not three. If you allowed other hens to add fertile eggs to the nests of the broodies for a week after they started sitting on eggs, you will get what is called a staggered hatch. Some of the eggs that are developing will be abandoned to die if you don't do anything.

    There are a few things you can do. They are not without some risk, but what more do you have to lose?

    I'm guessing all the broodies started about the same time. You can take the chicks as they hatch and dry off and put them in a brooder, so none of them stay on the nest long enough for Mama to think they need food and water. I'm not sure, but I think she can tell how hungry and thirsty they are by the tone of their peeping. The broodies might stay on and hatch the remaining eggs if you remove the chicks as they dry off. They might not. The broody might fight you to protect her chicks. If she is a good broody, she will. That is what her instincts tell her to do. The chicks or the unhatched eggs may become damaged if she fights you. There are risks in doing this. If you take the chicks late at night when it is dark, using as little light and commotion as possible, it might be a little more peaceful.

    Same as above, but instead of putting the chicks in a brooder as they hatch, put all the hatched chicks under one broody after the first day or so and put all her unhatched eggs under the other broodies. Then put the broody with the chicks in a separate area so the other broodies don't leave their nests and try to fight the first broody for the chicks. I'm guessing that all the broodies are in the same area and have access to each other and all the nests. If that is not the case, then this becomes a little easier. The broody with the chicks will probably accept the other chicks and raise them as her own. You can probably give her new chicks for a couple of days after she leaves her nest. But there is the chance she will see the new chicks as intruders and a threat to her chicks so she may try to kill them. That is one of the risks to this approach. So one broody gets the chicks that hatch the first two or three days, a second broody gets the chicks that hatch over the next few days, then the last broody gets any late hatchers. Different ways to work this.

    Depending on how many eggs you have, you could put all the chicken eggs under two of the broodies and put the duck eggs under the third broody. I'd want the third broody separated from the other two so she doesn't get confused and abandon her eggs when the other two broody's eggs start hatching. Then play the staggered hatch game with two broodies instead of three.

    You can play the staggered hatch game, and try to end up with one hen that is still on the nest after all the chicken eggs have hatched. Start your duck eggs in the incubator, but move them under the last hen if you can successfully play the staggered hatch game.

    If you have two incubators, you can put the duck eggs in one under incubation conditions and the unhatched chicken eggs in the other under lockdown conditions after some of the chicken eggs have hatched.

    You do have different options. People have successfully pulled off things like this, but there is more risk and stress than I like to cope with. Good luck!
     
  3. DaKid

    DaKid Chillin' With My Peeps

    739
    1
    153
    Aug 31, 2008
    Berkley , Ma.
    Thanks for ur reply:D
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by