1. If this is your first time on BYC, we suggest you start with one of these three options:
    Raising Chickens Chicken Coops Join BYC
    If you're already a member of our community, click here to login & click here to learn what's new!

Can I have two broodies hatch different lots of eggs in the same area?

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by maddogdodge, Oct 26, 2014.

  1. maddogdodge

    maddogdodge Chillin' With My Peeps

    311
    18
    106
    Apr 27, 2014
    Australia
    This is probably a really stupid question, but i'm totally new at hatching eggs, so bare with me [​IMG]

    I've currently got one broody hen sitting on some eggs, she's been on them for 2 days now.

    One of my other hens went broody today as well, I'm very tempted to move her in with my other hen and chuck some eggs from my flock under her... Would this be a problem?

    Say one hen's eggs hatched first, would the second hen then leave her nest and eggs to mother the other hens chicks?
     
  2. Judy

    Judy Moderator Staff Member

    34,028
    450
    448
    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    There is really no way to know. I would say the chances are they will work things out OK. I once had 3 hens share mothering a united batch of chicks, taking turns. People have all sorts of interesting stories about such mixes. In any case, I would have the mama/s raise the chicks in with the rest of the flock, so there is never an integration issue.
     
  3. AussieChics

    AussieChics Chillin' With My Peeps

    318
    20
    88
    Sep 7, 2014
    Adelaide Australia
    I did 2 hens 12 eggs. We lost all the eggs as they kept fighting over them :-( definitely wont be doing it again. You might have better luck though
     
  4. maddogdodge

    maddogdodge Chillin' With My Peeps

    311
    18
    106
    Apr 27, 2014
    Australia
    Hmmm okay, one good experience, one bad....

    The eggs that i've currently got under a hen are Barnevelder eggs that I bought, so I don't want to do anything that could potentially jeopardise them hatching okay.

    Perhaps i'll try letting her brood in with the flock... the only risk I can think of (other than mean hens) is crows... but I guess if she's a good mum and the other hens and roo look out for them too then hopefully crows wouldn't get to them...

    She's a sweet girl... only 7.5 months old... I'd love to let her have some chicks to raise If I can!

    Maybe I'll put a new nest in the coop, just for her, and hopefully I'll be able to get her out of what happens to be the most popular nest among 24 hens!!! [​IMG]
     
  5. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

    19,950
    3,111
    476
    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    Different results from different people are pretty normal on here. They are living animals. They don’t all react the same.

    Often two or more hens will work together to hatch and raise the chicks. If they are on their own separate nests, they will usually take care of their own eggs and chicks without a problem. But sometimes bad things happen. They might fight over eggs or chicks and damage the eggs or chicks.

    With your situation, especially with the first eggs being so valuable, I think you are wise to leave the first hen by herself in a separate enclosure. You have a lot of options with that second hen. If you leave her to hatch with the flock, mark all the eggs you want her to hatch and start them at the same time, then look under her after the others have laid each day to remove any eggs that don’t belong. As long as you remove them each day, you can use them. That’s what I do.

    Or you can make a separate enclosure and treat her like the first hen. One thing I’d be careful about. It’s possible the hens will fight over the chicks after they both hatch and are out roaming together. I’d keep them separated a week or so after the second one hatches to allow them to really bond with their own chicks. There is still no guarantee they won’t fight over the chicks, but I like your odds of success once they are well bonded.

    Good luck with it.
     
  6. maddogdodge

    maddogdodge Chillin' With My Peeps

    311
    18
    106
    Apr 27, 2014
    Australia
    Thanks for that very detailed answer, much appreciated [​IMG]

    I think I'll either put some eggs in a new nest for her in with the flock... or I'll just let her stay broody but not let her hatch any... the reason I'll let her stay broody is as a backup, just in case my other broody gives up on her eggs for some unknown reason... but I doubt that would happen.

    It will depend slightly on how willing she is to move to a less popular nest, but she could probably still do it in the popular nest... hmmm

    When I found her in the nest this afternoon she was doing a good job covering all 15 eggs she was sitting on!! She's pretty small, so should probably only sit on 8 eggs I'd say. But she was doing a good job, she had her wings slightly out to cover the eggs that were sticking out the sides a bit, all the eggs were toasty and warm. She's back on the nest now, but is sitting on nothing because I collected all those eggs and didn't put anything there as a substitute because at the time I hadn't thought about letting her hatch some yet.

    Does reaching my hand under them to look at the eggs disturb them too much? Or is it okay for me to do that?
     
  7. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

    19,950
    3,111
    476
    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    I reach under them all the time. Most will peck but not all do. It's really rare for any to draw blood when they peck but you might want to wear gloves the first few times and make your own assessment on that.
     
  8. Judy

    Judy Moderator Staff Member

    34,028
    450
    448
    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    Understand that the safest way to go, since the eggs are particularly valuable to you, is for one hen to set and raise the chicks in a completely separate enclosure. Broodies don't always return to the right nest if they set in a regular nest in the coop. And if it is a favorite nest, there is more likely to be fighting over the eggs. One approach is to separate for the setting, in something like a large dog kennel so they can walk around a little, then let mama raise the chicks in with the flock after hatch. This avoids the issue of integrting the chicks later. Or you can keep mama and chicks separate from the flock, and raise the chicks in a separate grow out pen after the mama gets through mothering and before the chicks are large enough to add to the adults safely. Lots of ways to do things with chickens, and different aproaches work out differently in different flocks.
     
  9. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

    17,472
    2,100
    456
    Sep 19, 2009
    Holts Summit, Missouri
    Keep brooding hens a good 2 feet or more apart so they do not hear each others embryos / chicks chirping. This prevents confusion with respect to imprinting process. Make so when broods hatched off each hen has her own preferred site for continued brooding and roosting with offspring. Normally I make so broody hens are spaced out quite a bit, especially when free-range forages dominate contributions to chick nutrition. You can tighten things up a lot with use of feeds but try to make so broods can avoid each other when they are feeding and loafing. Sometimes you can get multiple hens to do well tighter than I prefer but for reasons of consistency, spreading them out is preferred.
     
  10. maddogdodge

    maddogdodge Chillin' With My Peeps

    311
    18
    106
    Apr 27, 2014
    Australia
    Thank for all your replies [​IMG]

    I'll definitely keep my hen with Barnevelder eggs in the separate pen for her to sit and raise the chicks.

    With my other hen, how much space does a broody hen need while she's sitting on eggs? I assume its not much cause they don't seem to leave the nest that often, but I'm not sure...

    You say a large dog kennel would be okay? What do you mean by a large dog kennel?

    I have this dog crate which I usually use in the car for my dog, but I could easily use it for a broody for a while. I could put it in the nesting area in my chook yard, with a nesting box and food + water in it for her. Would that be too small?

    (Ignore all the chooks in it, I picked up these girls yesterday so snapped this pic while I was moving them to their temporary pen) The broody in question is a similar size to these hens though, she's not a really big girl.

    [​IMG]
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by