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broody yet fickle

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by surgerynut, Feb 23, 2013.

  1. surgerynut

    surgerynut Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 20, 2011
    Leavenworth, KS
    I have a question about brooding chickens. I have 2 hens, one a frizzle bantam and the other a BO, who are sitting on eggs every time I collect. After about a week of stealing their eggs and having them curse me with their squawks and ruffled feathers, I thought, what the heck, let 'em sit. Lesson learned, number 1, I should have marked the eggs because other hens would get in the nest with them and lay. The setting hens would then play musical nests. I would come out and find the BO on the bantam's and the bantam moved to the nesting box next door, and now there is a third bantam who wants to share a nest with a silkie and set. Is it normal for other hens to lay in a box while one is nesting. Do broody hens often change from one nest to another in the middle of incubation. The eggs are covered with one hen or another all but 1 time when I collected eggs. There have been a couple occasions when I could see several eggs not completely covered by the hen that was sitting on them. I am kicking myself now for not keeping track of which were the first eggs laid, as I feel now I have to see through the 21 days if there are any chicks that actually made it. Anyone have experience with this? Any hope for viability? The most frustrating part is the eggs may all be going to waste, can't sell em to eat because they might have started developing and not sure if they've been covered adequately to develop. Help! Words of encouragement???
     
  2. Judy

    Judy Moderator Staff Member

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    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    All those things can happen, or are the usual way things go. They can (and will) even pick up an egg and move it to another nest, either under their wing or under their "chin." Don't feel badly; a LOT of us here have learned such things the hard way... including me. You might get a better hatch than you expect -- especially if you separate them now. At this point, I'd probably put yours together in one broody pen and let them do as they will.

    I separate the broody for the setting, giving her a few square feet to walk around, and keeping food and water at the other end from the nest to encourage her to get a little exercise, as occasionally a broody won't get up at all for the whole 21 days. A day or two after the chicks hatch, mom and chicks are trying to get out of their pen and be with the flock, so I let them out. Then when mama decides not to be a mom any longer, returns to the roost by herself, chases the chicks away from her, starts laying again, the chicks are already accepted by the flock and can finish growing up in the flock. Mine would hang around with each other for a couple of months, sleeping huddled on the floor, for a while, but eventually become fully integrated. One of my home raised chicks is now the top of the pecking order.
     
  3. surgerynut

    surgerynut Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 20, 2011
    Leavenworth, KS
    Thanks Judy. They've been setting for about a week and a half. You think I should go ahead and move them all to a secluded sight?
     

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