broody Q...

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by cariboujaguar, May 7, 2009.

  1. cariboujaguar

    cariboujaguar Chillin' With My Peeps

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    The five hens I am buying are broody and want to sit eggs really badly, I will have eggs coming from a very nice guy on here (Thanks Ed!) that I am going to put under them to hatch (hopefully) are there any tricks to doing this? Once the chicks are hatched can I take them away and put them in a brooder then have the hen sit more eggs or will that exaust her (I understand most hens don't eat much while brooding...) I don't want to make the momma hen sad or worn out [​IMG] How many eggs can you put under each hen? (they are Marans) How long do eggs 'keep' for hatching, do they last a week or so? They should be stored at room temp right? Any hints/tips are much appreciated! thanks!
     
  2. Portia

    Portia Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Do you have the hens already and they are broody, or are they currently broody at where you're getting them from. I only ask this because a move to a new coop could potentially break their broodiness.
    Barring that possibility, here's my experience:
    Just put the eggs under them as they sit. When I have a hen that has begun sitting off and on I test her by putting an egg next to her, if she's broody she will tuck it under her and then literally puddle down over it, spreading her body out as far as possible. Broodies also pluck some of their feathers to create a 'brood spot' where they can put the eggs right next to their skin for incubation. If you pick a broody up you'll notice a featherless spot on her underside.
    You can take the chicks away and put them in a brooder. Personally, I let the hen raise them, it is soooo much easier.
    I wouldn't let a hen sit for more than a hatch cycle. Although most do eat/drink, they become very deconditioned and its not unheard of for them to die on the nest.
    How many eggs, as many as can fit under her and stay warm. Hen's can usually handle 12-15 of their own size eggs, or an equivalent mass of smaller/larger eggs. Keep in mind that the more you put under her, the more likely there will be a broken or unincubated egg.
    You can easily keep a hatching egg for a week or so at room temperature. Just make sure they aren't exposed to temperature extremes.Remember, hens lay a clutch over a period of a couple weeks before they even sit to incubate.

    I'm sure others may have other opinions & experiences.
    Good luck & I hope this helps.
     
  3. cariboujaguar

    cariboujaguar Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Yeah I figured the stress ofa move might hinder their desire to brood, as they'd feel insecure and most animals can skip a heat cycle or in chickens case stop being broody because they are in unfamiliar surroundings... but I am keeping my fingers crossed because these five are so bad they were stealing eggs and sitting them and she tried everything to break them of it... so maybe I'll get lucky and they'll stay happy... I am fully expecting them to stop sitting though, planning for the worst, but figure it's a good time to ask these questions anyhow... How many chicks can they care for? I wanted to raise the chicks so they'd be friendly, we always raised them (buying them as chicks) and they would come when we called them, sit in our laps, ride on our shoulders, they were just sooo sweet! If they are 'dam raised' I'm worried they'll be unmanagable... but I'm no expert, this was just my theory on the issue [​IMG]
     
  4. Portia

    Portia Chillin' With My Peeps

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    You are correct, if they are raised by a hen they generally won't be lap chickens; we'll mine aren't. But I must also consider that my chickens free range, so they are even less used to contact. The do all come running when I go out back though, such is the power of potential treats. I will say, however, that as they grow into adult birds they frequently overcome a good portion of their shyness...but still nowhere near being lap birds.

    I think the most chicks I've had a hen raise is around 10, but that's just what hatched. I imagine they'd do their best to mother whatever hatched. Additionally, some hens make better mothers than others. I have some that will mother for a week, some 2-3 some 5-6; I even have one that consistently is back out swinging with the flock after 1 week. Usually the rooster fills in and the chicks run to him for cover & warmth when mama can't be found. Kinda silly, but he's done it with several broods now.

    Oh yeah, if you have hard broodies, they will go broody again soon if they break when you move them. I have one little hen that seems to go broody every 3-4 months. She's my incubator. I just had her raise a bunch of her own breed so I can hopefully have a couple more incubators...but you never know. I also have a 5 month old that is now broody. [​IMG] She's was raised by one of my hens vs me, so she's going to be a fierce mama. The hawks are going to have to watch out [​IMG]
     
  5. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

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    Let me give you a few links. First, this site talks about incubating eggs, not using a broody, but it tells you how to store eggs for incubation. This works for a broody as well.

    http://gallus.tamu.edu/Extension publications/b6092.pdf

    Now, a link to "how to move a broody". This may come in handy. It may not.

    https://www.backyardchickens.com/forum/viewtopic.php?id=162759

    Now, a link to how a woman in Virginia handles her broodies. Note that she has plenty of room and has her own system set up. Your situation is likely different, so you don't have to do everything she does as she does it, but you can learn a lot about broodies from this article.

    http://www.themodernhomestead.us/article/broody-hens-1.html

    Adding to what Portia said, chicks raised by broodies are not as friendly as brooder raised chicks. The hen will teach them to look out for predators, including you. Broodies are very protective of their chicks. If I were free-ranging my chickens, I'd want them to be more careful around predators, just in case. You obviously want lap chickens, so you'll have to consider your individual situation and priorities and make that call for yourself. We are all different.

    Also, make sure the broody can cover all the eggs. If you give her too many to keep warm, some will cool off after they start developing and the developing chick will die. The broody hen will constantly shuffle the eggs under her, so a lot of the chicks could die. I've seen hens cover 15 eggs with no trouble. Some bantams can only cover 3 full-sized eggs. It depends on how big your Marans are and how big the eggs are.
     
  6. cariboujaguar

    cariboujaguar Chillin' With My Peeps

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    thanks both of you! You guys are so much help!!! They are currently having their eggs taken away, so I figured I'd just continue taking their eggs until I get aggs I want them to hatch, and give them fake eggs to sit on if they are super broody? I know they stop laying eggs when they get broody, one hen laid an egg while I was there and the lady said that was rare for them, so maybe they're picking back up... I won't be dissappointed either way, i'll have yummy eggs or some brooders, no biggie either way! I'm going to pick them up now, be on the look out for pics!
     

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